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Melanoma Linked to Altered Gut Microbes in Case-Control Study

In a paper appearing in JAMA Dermatology, investigators at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and elsewhere dig into the gut microbial community features found in individuals with early- or late-stage melanoma. Using targeted 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing, the team profiled gut microbiome features found in fecal samples from hundreds of individuals with or without melanoma, including 179 stage I to stage IV patients enrolled between 2015 and 2019 and 49 unaffected controls sampled between the spring of 2021 and early 2022. Along with an overall uptick in Fusobacterium representation in samples from individuals with melanoma, they saw differences in gut microbial community composition, diversity, and function in patients with early- or late-stage melanoma. "The findings of this case-control study suggest that fecal microbiota profiles were significantly different among patients with melanoma and controls and between patients with early-stage and late-stage melanoma," they write, noting that "[p]rospective investigations of the gut microbiome and changes that occur with disease progression may identify future microbial targets for intervention."