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Bioinformation. 2019 May 30;15(6):372-379. doi: 10.6026/97320630015372. eCollection 2019.

Data mining analysis of human gut microbiota links Fusobacterium spp. with colorectal cancer onset.

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1Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Screening Processes, Centre of Biotechnologyof Sfax, Bioinformatics Group, P.O. Box: 1177,Sfax,3018 Tunisia.
Center of Excellence in Genomic Medicine Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Medical Technology Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
4School of Biological Sciences,University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK.
Clinical Nutrition Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Forensic Biology Department, College of Forensic Sciences, Naif Arab University for Security Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Gut microbiota and their metabolites play a vital role in colon health and disease. Accumulating evidence suggests that the gut microbiota contributes to the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the role of a specific microbial community together with their metabolites contributing to the risk, initiation and progression of CRC is still unknown. Hence, we used a Bayesian Networks in combination with the IDA (Intervention calculus when the DAG is absent) to generate a graphical model that allows causal relationships to be inferred from observational data. Results from the analysis of publically available datasets showed that four species: Fusobacteium, Citrobacter, Microbacterium and Slaxkia have estimated non-null lower bounds of causal effects of CRC. These findings support the hypothesis that specific bacterial species (microbial markers) act in concert with locally modified microbiota to cause or influence CRC progression. Additional comprehensive studies are required to validate the potential use of F. nucleatum, Citrobacter as well as Slackia as microbial biomarkers in CRC for prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and/or therapeutics.


Colorectal cancer; Fusobacterium spp; IDA method; bacteria; biomarker; microbiome

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