Endocrine-related cancer 2017 12 12() pii 10.1530/ERC-17-0442
Germline PTEN mutations defining PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome [PHTS] confer heritable predisposition to breast, endometrial, thyroid, and other cancers with known age-related risks, but it remains impossible to predict if any individual will develop cancer. In the general population, gut microbial dysbiosis has been linked to cancer, yet is unclear whether these are associated in PHTS patients. In this pilot study, we aimed to characterize microbial composition of stool, urine, and oral wash from 32 PTEN mutation-positive individuals using 16S rRNA-gene sequencing. PCoA revealed clustering of the fecal microbiome by cancer history (p=0.03, R2=0.04). Fecal samples from PHTS-cancer patients had relatively more abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from family Rikenellaceae and unclassified members of Clostridia compared to those from non-cancer patients, whereas families Peptostreptococcaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, and Bifidobacteriaceae represented relatively more abundant OTUs among fecal samples from PHTS non-cancer patients. Functional metagenomic prediction revealed enrichment of the folate biosynthesis, genetic information processing, and cell growth and death pathways among fecal samples from PHTS cancer patients compared to non-cancer patients. We found no major shifts in overall diversity and no clustering by cancer history among oral wash or urine samples. Our observations suggest the utility of an expanded study to interrogate gut dysbiosis as a potential cancer risk modifier in PHTS patients.