Cancer is a general term for diseases caused by hyperactive cells growing at an abnormal rate which can invade normal cells and cause problems in the different systems in the body. Among the most common types of cancer, according to the World Health Organization, are lung, breast, colorectal, prostate, and skin cancer (WHO, 2018). Most cases of cancer are caused by a combination of lifestyle and environmental factors, while other cases are hereditary and genetically determined. Additionally, some studies in the past have shown the connection between microbes and the development of cancer. Viruses and bacteria are found to cause a wide range of cancer-related diseases such as cervical cancer (caused by Human Papilloma Virus) and hepatocellular carcinoma (caused by Hepatitis B and C virus).
The human microbiome or the community of microorganisms found in the human body was proven to have a large effect on the overall health of an individual. Researchers have also studied the relationship between the microbiome and the development of diseases including some forms of cancer. Metagenomics, a study of genetic material collected from environmental samples, has been used to analyze and interpret microbial lineages that are linked to cancer development. In this method, samples of cancerous cells or tissues are collected and the genetic material is separated, sequenced, and analyzed to map out microbial lineages present in the sample in order to determine their pathogenicity and to select potential antigen targets for the development of treatments. Next-generation sequencing paved the way for metagenomic screening of clinical samples.
Metagenomics has helped researchers identify common microorganisms present in a particular type of cancer and to determine the probability of developing cancer-based on the microbiome of the patient. Recently, in an article published in Cancers, a diagnostic model to differentiate benign and malignant ovarian tumors was developed with the aid of metagenomic sequencing of sample serum. The researchers were able to determine that the relative abundance of Acinetobacter species provides a potential basis to determine if an ovarian tumor could progress to ovarian cancer.
Creative Proteomics offers a wide range of services to aid in cancer research. We provide metagenomic sequencing and analysis by two sequencing technologies namely Illumina and PacBio. The first one, Illumina applies a sequencing by synthesis approach to metagenomic sequencing. This technology uses fluorescently-labeled nucleotides which are added one at a time during chain elongation and the identification of bases is determined by the intensity of the fluorescent dye, leading to a high accuracy sequencing (Illumina). On the other hand, PacBio sequencing uses a single molecule to conduct real-time sequencing (SMRT sequencing) allowing for longer read lengths. In this technology, fluorescently-labeled nucleotides are also used however the identification of bases depends on the specific light pulse emitted by the incorporated nucleotide. Both sequencing technologies have been widely used in metagenomic studies which can be used in cancer research in the attempt to develop diagnostic models and for designing drugs to target specific causative microorganisms or antigens in cancer systems.
Creative Proteomics is one of the most trusted companies in metagenomics and cancer research, we are dedicated to providing the best strategies for your research. With state-of-the-art instrumentations, we provide fast and reliable metagenomic sequencing services. For additional information and other services that we provide, please feel free to contact us.
1. Anand, P., Kunnumakara, A.B., Sundaram, C., et al. Cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes, Pharmaceutical Research. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097-2116.
2. Banerjee, J., Mishra, N., Dhas, Y. Metagenomics: A new horizon in cancer research, Meta Gene, 5 2015, 84-89.
3. Kim, S.I. Metagenomic analysis of serum micro-derived extracellular vesicles and diagnostic models to differentiate ovarian cancer and benign ovarian tumor. Cancers, 2020, 12:1309.