Metagenomic analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor and normal mucosa reveals differences in the microbiome of colorectal cancer patients

Gabriela Debesa-Tur, Vicente Pérez-Brocal, Susana Ruiz-Ruiz, Adela Castillejo, Amparo Latorre, José Luis Soto, Andrés Moya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


An increased risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC) and other types of tumor is associated to Lynch syndrome (LS), an inherited condition caused by germline mutations in mismatch repair genes. We selected a cohort of LS patients that had developed CRC and had undergone surgical resection. Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue blocks from matched colorectal and normal mucosa were used for genomic DNA extraction with a commercial kit and sequenced by high-throughput sequencing. A metagenomic approach enabled the taxonomic and functional identification of the microbial community and associated genes detected in the specimens. Slightly lower taxonomic diversity was observed in the tumor compared to the non-tumor tissue. Furthermore, the most remarkable differences between tumors and healthy tissue was the significant increase in the genus Fusobacterium in the former, in particular the species F. nucleatum, as well as Camplylobacter or Bacteroides fragilis, in accordance with previous studies of CRC. However, unlike prior studies, the present work is not based on directed detection by qPCR but instead uses a metagenomic approach to retrieve the whole bacterial community, and addresses the additional difficulty of using long-term stored FFPE samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number391
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We want to particularly acknowledge the patients and the Biobank IBSP-CV (PT17/0015/0017) integrated in the Spanish National Biobanks Network and in the Valencian Biobanking Network, especially A. Ahicart, D. Molina and J. Martínez, for their collaboration. This research was funded by grants to AM from the Fundación Científica de la Asociación Española contra el Cancer (project AECC 2017-1485), including a post-doctoral contract to VPB first and to SRR later. GD is recipient of a PhD fellowship from the Junta Asociada Provincial de Valencia AECC. Action co-financed by the European Union through the Operational Program of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of Valencia Region (Spain) 2014-2020.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'Metagenomic analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor and normal mucosa reveals differences in the microbiome of colorectal cancer patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this