- •Adults with CF had reductions in short chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing bacteria.
- •CF patients had reduced levels of branched chain fatty acids but not of SCFAs.
- •CF patients with adenomas had increased Bacteroides fragilis.
Adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) are at increased risk for colon cancer. CF patients have reductions in intestinal bacteria that produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), although it is unclear whether this corresponds with intestinal SCFA levels and the presence of colonic neoplasia. The aim of this study was to compare gut microbiome and SCFA composition in patients with and without CF, and to assess associations with colonic adenomas.
Colonic aspirates were obtained from adults with and without CF undergoing colon cancer screening or surveillance colonoscopy. Microbiome characterization was performed by 16S rRNA V3-V4 sequencing. Targeted profiling of SCFAs and related metabolites was performed by LC-MS.
42 patients (21 CF, 21 control) were enrolled. CF patients had significantly reduced alpha diversity and decreased relative abundance of many SCFA-producing taxa. There were no significant differences in SCFA levels in CF patients, although there were reduced levels of branched chain fatty acids (BCFAs) and related metabolites. CF patients with adenomas, but not controls with adenomas, had significantly increased relative abundance of Bacteroides fragilis. CF microbiome composition was significantly associated with isovalerate concentration and the presence of adenomas.
CF patients have marked disturbances in the gut microbiome, and CF patients with adenomas had notably increased relative abundance of B. fragilis, a pathogen known to promote colon cancer. Reductions in BCFAs but not SCFAs were found in CF. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the role of B. fragilis as well the biological significance of reductions in BCFAs in CF.
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Published online: January 28, 2023
Accepted: January 23, 2023
Received in revised form: December 2, 2022
Received: August 5, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
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