There is an unambiguous association of Streptococcus gallolyticus infection with colorectal cancer, although there is limited information about epidemiology or interaction between molecular and environmental factors. We performed an original quantitative analysis of S. gallolyticus in unselected colorectal cancer patients (n = 190) and their association with clinical, pathological tumor molecular profiles (microsatellite instability, hypermethylator phenotype and chromosomal instability pathways), and other biological factors in colorectal tumor and normal tissues (cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus infection). We developed a new quantitative method to assess bacterial load. Analytical validation was reached with a very high sensitivity and specificity. Our results showed a 3.2% prevalence of S. gallolyticus infection in our unselected cohort of colorectal cancer cases (6/190). The average S. gallolyticus copy number was 7,018 (range 44-34,585). No previous reports relating to S. gallolyticus infection have been published for unselected cohorts of patients. Finally, and despite a low prevalence of S. gallolyticus in this study, we were able to define a specific association with tumor tissue (p = 0.03) and with coinfection with Epstein-Barr virus (p = 0.042; OR: 9.49; 95% IC: 1.1-82.9). The prevalence data provided will be very useful in the design of future studies, and will make it possible to estimate the sample size needed to assess precise objectives. In conclusion, our results show a low prevalence of S. gallolyticus infection in unselected colorectal cancer patients and an association of positive S. gallolyticus infection with tumor tissue and Epstein-Barr virus coinfection. Further studies will be needed to definitively assess the prevalence of S. gallolyticus in colorectal cancer and the associated clinicopathological and molecular profiles.
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© 2017 Andres-Franch et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.