Candida albicans culture from a rectal swab can be associated with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer

StarĂ½ L, et al. Folia Microbiol (Praha) 2020.


Plenty of metagenomic studies have suggested possible associations between microbiome composition and colorectal cancer (CRC). However, these techniques are not economic enough for routine use so far. Therefore, we explored the possibility to detect species associated with colorectal cancer by conventional culture from rectal swab. Fifty-two patients newly diagnosed for adenoma/CRC and 52 age-matched controls were recruited and sampled. Rectal swabs were inoculated on several types of plates and

incubated appropriately under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. All colonial morphotypes were subcultured and identified using MALDI-ToF MS. Although no bacterial species was significantly associated with CRC in our study, we surprisingly observed a strong and significant overrepresentation of the yeast Candida albicans in cases (P = 0.0066, odds ratio 5.444 [95% CI 1.449-20.462]). Potential confounding factors were associated neither with CRC (history of CRC in first-degree relatives, a personal history of appendectomy and cholecystectomy, increased BMI (body mass index), and the percentage of males) nor with C. albicans presence (preexisting diabetes and PPI medication) in our cohort. A growing body of evidence supports the view that C. albicans does cause cancer in humans. We hypothesize that presence of C. albicans in the gut may induce or facilitate some part of the sporadic CRC cases. Our observation should be a strong incentive to verify the potential usefulness of the easily culturable C. albicans yeast as a screening marker for patients at risk of CRC or those suffering an early asymptomatic stage of CRC.