Targeting Fusobacterium nucleatum for better colorectal cancer outcomes

May 31, 2024

A specific clade of Fusobacterium nucleatum, known as Fna C2, is prevalent in colorectal cancer (CRC) tumours. This clade has unique genetic factors that enhance its ability to colonise and promote tumours, making it a key target for cancer research and potential therapies.

March 2024 – Nature


Key takaways


  • A distinct clade of Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fna C2) is significantly associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) tumours: Fna C2, a specific subgroup within Fusobacterium nucleatum, has been identified as predominantly present in CRC tumours compared to healthy tissues. This clade’s association with cancer highlights the importance of microbiome composition in disease development and progression
  • Fna C2 has unique genetic factors that enhance its ability to colonise and promote tumour growth in the gastrointestinal tract: Genetic analysis reveals that Fna C2 possesses distinct genetic factors that facilitate its survival and colonisation in the CRC tumour environment. These factors include genes related to metabolic functions, adhesion, and immune evasion, which collectively contribute to its pathogenicity and ability to support tumour growth
  • Higher levels of Fna C2 are linked to increased tumour recurrence, metastasis, and poorer patient prognosis: Patients with higher intratumoral loads of Fna C2 experience worse outcomes, including higher rates of tumour recurrence and metastasis. This correlation emphasises the impact of Fna C2 on the aggressiveness of CRC and patient survival, making it a critical factor in cancer prognosis


By understanding the specific role of Fna C2 in CRC, researchers can develop targeted therapies aimed at reducing its colonisation and virulence. Such interventions could potentially improve CRC treatment outcomes, thereby contributing to enhanced longevity and better healthspan in affected individuals


Read the article at: Zepeda-Rivera, M., Minot, S.S., Bouzek, H. et al. A distinct Fusobacterium nucleatum clade dominates the colorectal cancer niche. Nature 628, 424–432 (2024).