Differences in the on- and off-tumor microbiota between right- and left-sided colorectal cancer

Oliver Phipps, Mohammed N Quraishi, Edward A Dickson, Helen Steed, Aditi Kumar, Austin G Acheson, Andrew D Beggs, Matthew J Brookes, Hafid Omar Al-Hassi

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This study aims to determine differences in the on- and off-tumor microbiota between patients with right- and left-sided colorectal cancer. Microbiome profiling of tumor and tumor-adjacent biopsies from patients with right-sided (n = 17) and left-sided (n = 7) colorectal adenocarcinoma was performed using 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing. Off-tumor alpha and beta diversity were significantly different between right- and left-sided colorectal cancer patients. However, no differences in on-tumor diversity were observed between tumor locations. Comparing the off-tumor microbiota showed the right colon to be enriched with species of the Lachnoclostridium, Selenomonas, and Ruminococcus genera. Whereas the left colon is enriched with Epsilonbacteraeota phylum, Campylobacteria class, and Pasteurellales and Campylobacterales orders, in contrast, the on-tumor microbiota showed relatively fewer differences in bacterial taxonomy between tumor sites, with left tumors being enriched with Methylophilaceae and Vadin BE97 families and Alloprevotella, Intestinibacter, Romboutsia, and Ruminococcus 2 genera. Patients with left-sided colorectal cancer had large taxonomic differences between their paired on- and off-tumor microbiota, while patients with right-sided colorectal cancer showed relatively fewer taxonomic differences. Collectively, this suggests that the right and left colon show distinctive bacterial populations; however, the presence of a colonic tumor leads to a more consistent microbiota between locations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1108
Number of pages11
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2021


  • 16S rRNA
  • gut microbiome
  • proximal and distal colon
  • right- and left-sided colorectal cancer
  • tumor microbiota


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