It is increasingly being recognised that changes in the gut microbiome have either a causative or associative relationship with colorectal cancer (CRC). However, most of this research has been carried out in a small number of developed countries with high CRC incidence. It is unknown if lower incidence countries such as India have similar microbial associations.
Having previously established protocols to facilitate microbiome research in regions with developing research infrastructure, we have now collected and sequenced microbial samples from a larger cohort study of 46 Indian CRC patients and 43 healthy volunteers.
When comparing to previous global collections, these samples resemble other Asian samples, with relatively high levels of Prevotella. Predicting cancer status between cohorts shows good concordance. When compared to a previous collection of Indian CRC patients, there was similar concordance, despite different sequencing technologies between cohorts.
These results show that there does seem to be a global CRC microbiome, and that some inference between studies is reasonable. However, we also demonstrate that there is definite regional variation, with more similarities between location-matched comparisons. This emphasises the importance of developing protocols and advancing infrastructure to allow as many countries as possible to contribute to microbiome studies of their own populations.