Oral Microbiome Tied to Lung Cancer Risk in Never-Smokers

Lower alpha diversity of the oral microbiota is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer among never-smokers, and the abundance of specific taxa are associated with altered risk, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in Thorax.

H. Dean Hosgood, Ph.D., from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, and colleagues conducted a nested case-control study within two prospective cohort studies to examine whether diversity in oral microbiota is associated with lung cancer risk in never-smokers. A total of 114 patients who were diagnosed with incident lung cancer were matched 1:1 with controls.

The researchers found that the risk for lung cancer was increased for individuals with lower microbiota alpha diversity compared with those with higher microbial alpha diversity. There were no differences observed between cases and controls for beta diversity. After accounting for multiple comparisons, the risk for lung cancer was reduced in association with a greater abundance of Spirochaetia and Bacteroidetes, while an increased risk for lung cancer was seen in association with a greater abundance of Bacilli class and Lactobacillales order.

“While our study provides evidence that variation in the oral microbiome plays a role in lung cancer risk, the interpretation of our study must be done while considering the caveat that our findings are from a single time point in a single geographical location,” the authors write.

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