Researchers discover an imbalance of bacteria in cancerous breast tissue
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have discovered a key difference in the breast tissue of healthy women and the breast tissue of women with breast cancer.
They say that difference may have to do with an imbalance of bacteria in breast cancer tissue compared to that of healthy breast tissue.
In a pilot study, researchers looked at cancerous and non-cancerous tissues. They found some bacteria were what they call “over-represented” in breast cancers.
They did not find that to be true in tissue that was not cancerous.
The bacteria that live in and on the body are known as micro-biomes.
Previous research has shown that when that bacteria is in the gut, the system is out of balance, and it becomes easier for disease to grow.
In the study, researchers examined the tissues of 78 patients who underwent mastectomies related to breast cancer.
They found that healthy, non-cancerous breast tissue had more of a certain type of bacteria, but that the cancerous tissues had other types of bacteria that were elevated.
The next step in the research is to look at whether the bacteria in the breast cancer tissue could be targeted with treatment, or if a problem area could be targeted in the breast before cancer develops.
The discovery could be big for treatment, because it could mean instead of giving chemotherapy, you could give something like a targeted pro-biotic, with fewer side effects.