Our latest study, published in European Urology Oncology, sheds some light on understanding which cancers will rapidly and aggressively evolve and which will not. Part of the answer lies in the five types of bacteria.
For several years, we have known that pathogens (bacteria and viruses) can cause cancer. We know, for example, that Helicobacter pylori is associated with stomach cancer and that human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer. There is also increasing evidence that Fusobacterium nucleatum is linked to colorectal cancer.
Here at Norwich Medical School, along with our colleagues at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, the Quadram Institute, and others, we have identified five types (genera) of bacteria associated with aggressive prostate cancer. These are anaerobic bacteria, Peptoniphilus, Porphyromonas, Fenollaria, and Fusobacterium. We call this the ‘Anaerobic Bacteria Biomarker Group’ or ABBS.
The genera of bacteria are divided into “species”. And here we found four completely new types of bacteria, three of which are related to the genera associated with aggressive prostate cancer.
We named two new bacteria after two of the study’s funders: Porphyromonas bobii, after the Bob Champion Cancer Trust and Varibaculum prostatecancerukia, after prostate cancer in the UK.
World Cancer Day: Prostate, breast and colon most common in India; Learn the causes and symptoms
Fight cancer with hope
Cancer is the second most common disease in India and is responsible for the maximum mortality of about 0.3 million deaths annually. This is due to the lack of awareness of types of cancer and the need for early diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Among the types of cancer in India, breast, cervical, colon and prostate cancers are the most common, thus knowing its signs and symptoms is the key to management.
Dr. Bhavna Parikh, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Bombay Hospital, shares details about each of these types of cancers.
We examined prostate tissue and urine samples from more than 600 men with and without prostate cancer, and when any of the five specific anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that can grow in the absence of oxygen) were detected in the patients’ samples, it was associated with faster development. From cancer to aggressive disease.
In fact, men who had one or more bacteria were nearly three times more likely to see early-stage cancer progressing to advanced disease, compared to men who didn’t have any of the bacteria in their urine or prostate.
We also explored potential mechanisms of how these bacteria are related to cancer, including potential effects on the metabolism of human host cells.
Towards a better test
Current tests for prostate cancer, such as the PSA test and biopsy, are not always able to predict which cancers will be harmful. Hopefully, a new test that looks for the ABBS bacteria group will be better able to detect and detect aggressive prostate cancer. The new test will be similar to tests developed to detect Helicobacter pylori associated with stomach cancer or HPV associated with cervical cancer.
With our colleagues, we are currently working on this. We plan to develop robust, rapid tests to detect the five distinct bacteria and to investigate new treatment options to remove these bacteria from the urinary tract, bladder and prostate.
Despite our exciting discovery, there are still important questions to answer, such as, do bacteria cause prostate cancer? If so, how? Also, can we use treatment options to eliminate the bacteria to prevent the development of aggressive disease? We hope to have answers to these questions soon.
(Article published by PTI via The Conversation)
World Cancer Day: Prostate cancer is an old man’s disease that affects sexual desire and other myths…
How well do you understand prostate cancer?
The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland located between the bladder and the penis. This gland is responsible for protecting and nourishing the sperm and contributes to an increase in the amount of semen. Tumors in the prostate gland can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. It develops when abnormal cells in the prostate gland multiply and accumulate to form a tumor.
Screening and early detection plays a very important role in the management of prostate cancer as the disease can be controlled in its early stages with minimal medical intervention. Hence, awareness of risk factors, early warning signs, screening and treatment methodologies is critical to managing it and reducing morbidity rates.
On World Cancer Day, Dr. Rajesh Ahlawat, Group Chair – Urology and Andrology, Institute of Kidney and Urology at Medanta Multi Specialty Hospital, Gurgaon, Dispels Some Prostate Cancer Myths:
Myth: Only Older People Get Prostate Cancer
Myth: In prostate cancer, you can feel a lump
Myth: Prostate cancer is always curable
Myth: Surgery is the only treatment option