Metagenomic analysis of the microbiome of the upper reproductive tract: combating ovarian cancer through predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine

EPMA J. 2022 Jun 23:1-12. doi: 10.1007/s13167-022-00286-1. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: We investigated whether ovarian cancer could alter the genital microbiota in a specific way with clinical values. Furthermore, we proposed how such changes could be envisioned in a paradigm of predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine (PPPM).

METHODS: The samples were collected using cotton swabs from the cervical, uterine cavity, fallopian tubes, and ovaries of patients subjected to the surgical procedures for the malignant/benign lesions. All samples were then analyzed by metagenomic shotgun sequencing. The distribution patterns and characteristics of the microbiota in the reproductive tract of subjects were analyzed and were interpreted in relation to the clinical outcomes of the subjects.

RESULTS: While the ovarian cancer was able to alter the genital microbiota, the bacteria were the dominant microorganisms in all samples across all cohorts in the study (median 99%). The microbiota of the upper female reproductive tract were mainly from the cervical, identified by low bacterial biomass and high bacterial diversity. Ovarian cancer had a distinct microbiota signature. The tubal ligation affects its microbial distribution. There were no different species on the surface of platinum-sensitive ovarian tissues compared to samples from platinum-resistant patients.

CONCLUSION: The ovarian cancer-induced changes in microbiota magnify the potential of microbiota as a biotherapeutic modality in the treatment of ovarian cancer in this study and very likely for several malignancies and other conditions. Our findings demonstrated, for the first time, that microbiota could be dissected and applied in more specific fashion based on a predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine (PPPM) model in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Utilizing microbiota portfolio in a PPPM system in ovarian cancer would provide a unique opportunity to a clinically intelligent and novel approach in the treatment of ovarian cancer as well as several other conditions and malignancies.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s13167-022-00286-1.

PMID:35762010 | PMC:PMC9219379 | DOI:10.1007/s13167-022-00286-1

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