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Microbiome profiling, inflammation monitoring, immune function evaluation, and genome analysis: the battle against cancer takes advantage from all these tools. A study published in the Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research by a team of researchers led by Elena Binda, chief of Cancer Stem Cells Unit at the Scientific Institute for Care and Research “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” in San Giovanni Rotondo (Italy), provides new evidence of their usefulness.

Binda and collaborators demonstrated for the first time the correlation between BRAFV600E, a mutation associated with a type of colorectal cancer notably resistant to treatment, and a specific composition of the gut microbiota. This latter is associated with the expression of genes involved in inflammation and innate immunity.

New diagnostic and therapeutic perspectives

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer; in the developed world, it is the second cause of death from cancer. Binda and collaborators studied a particularly aggressive CRC; probably, its aggressiveness is based on the BRAFV600E mutation. The evidence of the correlation between CRC development and gut flora pushed the researchers into the analysis of the microbiome of individuals with BRAFV600E-positive cancer. Finally, they identified 10 microbial species typically associated with the BRAFV600E mutation.

The discovery opens up the possibility of a new approach to the identification of BRAFV600E-positive cancers in a totally non-invasive way: by analyzing the gut microbiome looking for these 10 microbial species. Moreover, it could pave the way to new, more customized, more efficient, and less toxic treatments.

From the microbiome to inflammation and innate immunity

BRAFV600E mutation is associated with the preferential expression of genes involved in inflammation and innate immunity. That is why Binda and collaborators analyzed the possibility of a correlation between the 10 microbial species specific to BRAFV600E-positive CRC, inflammation and innate immunity. They discovered that bacterial species belonging to the genera Oscillibacter, Desulfallas, Anaerostipes, Ethanoligenens, and Akkermansia are associated with genes involved in inflammation and innate immunity. «Data here suggest the existence of a bidirectional communication, involving inflammation, invasion and innate immune signaling, between the BRAFV600E lesion and the gut microbiota», the researchers explained on the pages of the Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research.

The added value of a multidisciplinary approach

As explained by Giuseppe Mucci, CEO of Bioscience Institute, «cancer is a multifactorial disease, and the best way to efficiently counteract it is by studying the greatest possible number of factors playing a role in its development. That is why we decided to do not limit our work to the study of cancer genetic make-up – a field in which Bioscience Genomics occupies a leadership position worldwide – but to expand our services by including the analysis of the microbiome, of the inflammation, and of the balance of the immune system. More important, we offer these services to healthy people, for a cancer prevention approach that precedes early diagnosis by intercepting and monitoring the physiological conditions that promote cancer development: genetic instability, gut microbiota disequilibrium, low-grade chronic inflammation, and unbalanced immune defenses».

There are 4 tests included in Bioscience Institute’s multidisciplinary approaches: HELIXBALANCE, MICROBALANCE, CYTOBALANCE, and IMMUNOBALANCE. For further information, please visit Bioscience Institute’s webpage, or call us at +971 (0)4 375 7220. Our biologists will respond to your questions without commitment of your part.


  • Dai Z et al. Multi-cohort analysis of colorectal cancer metagenome identified altered bacteria across populations and universal bacterial markers. 2018 Apr 11;6(1):70. doi: 10.1186/s40168-018-0451-2
  • Tilg H et al. The Intestinal Microbiota in Colorectal Cancer. Cancer Cell. 2018 Jun 11;33(6):954-964. doi: 1016/j.ccell.2018.03.004
  • Trivieri N et al. BRAF V600E mutation impinges on gut microbial markers defining novel biomarkers for serrated colorectal cancer effective therapies. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2020 Dec 14;39(1):285. doi: 1186/s13046-020-01801-w
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