Research press release


Nature Communications

Health: Gut microbes may predict immunotherapy-induced colitis



今回、Eric Pamerたちは、黒色腫の患者34人から採取した大便検体に含まれる微生物と代謝物の構成を調べた。これらの検体は、免疫療法が実施される前の段階、つまり、患者が大腸炎になっていない時点で採取された。解析結果からは、患者の3分の1が免疫療法を受けてから数週間以内に大腸炎を発症し、大腸炎を発症した者は、免疫療法実施前にバクテロイデス門の腸内細菌と腸内細菌が産生する特定の代謝物を持っていなかったことが明らかになった。


The risk of developing colitis - inflammation in the lining of the colon - as a side effect of cancer immunotherapy may be predicted by a fecal test, suggests a study in Nature Communications. Immunotherapy involves enlisting a patient’s own immune cells to fight tumours; however, this immune response may also be directed towards the patient’s healthy tissues, causing autoimmune diseases such as colitis. Knowing in advance which patients are at risk would allow this side effect to be minimized.

Colitis has previously been correlated to changes in microbial composition, but establishing causative links has been difficult in humans. Although clinical trials are needed, this study identifies possible biomarkers that may allow the identification of patients susceptible to immunotherapy-induced colitis.

Eric Pamer and colleagues measure the composition of microbes and metabolites in fecal samples from 34 patients suffering from melanoma. They analyse the samples prior to immune therapy, when the patients did not suffer from intestinal inflammation. They show that one third of the patients developed colitis within weeks following the treatment, and that those who developed colitis lacked a type of intestinal bacteria called Bacteroidetes, and specific metabolites made by gut bacteria, prior to immunotherapy.

This study suggests that Bacteroidetes and specific microbial metabolites may be potentially used for protection of these patients. These results could enable interventions to reduce the risk of inflammatory complications following cancer immunotherapy.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms10391

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