Inverse relationship between Fusobacterium nucleatum amount and tumor CD274 (PD-L1) expression in colorectal carcinoma


The CD274 (programmed cell death 1 ligand 1, PD-L1)/PDCD1 (programmed cell death 1, PD-1) immune checkpoint axis is known to regulate the antitumor immune response. Evidence also supports an immunosuppressive effect of Fusobacterium nucleatum. We hypothesised that tumor CD274 overexpression might be inversely associated with abundance of F. nucleatum in colorectal carcinoma.



We assessed tumor CD274 expression by immunohistochemistry and F. nucleatum DNA within tumor tissue by quantitative PCR in 812 cases among 4465 incident rectal and colon cancer cases that had occurred in two prospective cohort studies. Multivariable logistic regression analyses with inverse probability weighting were used to adjust for selection bias because of tissue data availability and potential confounders including microsatellite instability status, CpG island methylator phenotype, LINE-1 methylation level and KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations.



Fusobacterium nucleatum DNA was detected in tumor tissue in 109 (13%) cases. Tumor CD274 expression level was inversely associated with the amount of F. nucleatum in colorectal cancer tissue (P = 0.0077). For one category-unit increase in three ordinal F. nucleatum categories (negative vs. low vs. high), multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (with 95% confidence interval) of the low, intermediate and high CD274 categories (vs. negative) were 0.78 (0.41–1.51), 0.64 (0.32–1.28) and 0.50 (0.25–0.99), respectively (Ptrend = 0.032).



Tumor CD274 expression level was inversely associated with the amount of F. nucleatum in colorectal cancer tissue, suggesting that different immunosuppressive mechanisms (i.e. PDCD1 immune checkpoint activation and tumor F. nucleatum enrichment) tend to be used by different tumor subgroups.

Journal Clinical & Translational Immunology
Authors Tomotaka Ugai et al
DATE 02 August 2023
FOXC2 promotes vasculogenic mimicry and resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy



  • FOXC2 is upregulated in vasculogenic mimicry (VM)-proficient tumor cells
  • FOXC2 regulates endothelial genes in tumor cells
  • Severe hypoxia promotes quasi-endothelial differentiation of tumor cells
  • FOXC2-driven VM promotes resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy



Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) describes the formation of pseudo blood vessels constructed of tumor cells that have acquired endothelial-like properties. VM channels endow the tumor with a tumor-derived vascular system that directly connects to host blood vessels, and their presence is generally associated with poor patient prognosis. Here we show that the transcription factor, Foxc2, promotes VM in diverse solid tumor types by driving ectopic expression of endothelial genes in tumor cells, a process that is stimulated by hypoxia. VM-proficient tumors are resistant to anti-angiogenic therapy, and suppression of Foxc2 augments response. This work establishes co-option of an embryonic endothelial transcription factor by tumor cells as a key mechanism driving VM proclivity and motivates the search for VM-inhibitory agents that could form the basis of combination therapies with anti-angiogenics.

Journal Cell Reports
Authors Ian G. Cannell et al
DATE 26 July 2023
Holtiella tumoricola gen. nov. sp. nov., isolated from a human clinical sample

The diversity of bacteria associated with biopsy material obtained from patients with colorectal cancer was investigated using culture techniques. A novel bacterium, strain CC70AT, was isolated by diluting a sample of homogenized tissue in anaerobic medium, and then plating to yield a pure culture. Strain CC70AT was a Gram-positive, strictly anaerobic, motile, rod-shaped bacterium. Formate, but not acetate, was a fermentative end-product from growth in peptone–yeast extract and peptone–yeast–glucose broth. The G+C content of DNA from strain CC70AT was 34.9 mol%. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis revealed that the isolate was part of the phylum Bacillota. The closest described relatives of strain CC70AT were Cellulosilyticum lentocellum (93.3 %) and Cellulosilyticum ruminicola (93.3 and 91.9% sequence similarity across 16S rRNA gene, respectively). According to the data obtained in this work, strain CC70AT represents a novel bacterium belonging to a new genus for which the name Holtiella tumoricola gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain for our described novel species is CC70AT (=DSM 27931T= JCM 30568T).

Journal International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
Authors Emma Allen-Vercoe et al
DATE 12 July 2023
Strain specificity in fusobacterial co-aggregation with colorectal cancer-relevant species


The purpose of the present study was to characterize co-aggregation interactions between isolates of Fusobacterium nucleatum subsp. Animalis and other colorectal cancer (CRC)-relevant species.


Co-aggregation interactions were assessed by comparing optical density values following 2-h stationary strain co-incubations to strain optical density values when incubated alone. Co-aggregation was characterized between strains from a previously isolated, CRC biopsy-derived community and F. nucleatum subsp. Animalis, a species linked to CRC and known to be highly aggregative. Interactions were also investigated between the fusobacterial isolates and strains sourced from alternate human gastrointestinal samples whose closest species match aligned with species in the CRC biopsy-derived community.


Co-aggregation interactions were observed to be strain-specific, varying between both F. nucleatum subsp. Animalis strains and different strains of the same co-aggregation partner species. F. nucleatum subsp. Animalis strains were observed to co-aggregate strongly with several taxa linked to CRC: Campylobacter concisusGemella spp., Hungatella hathewayi, and Parvimonas micra.


Co-aggregation interactions suggest the ability to encourage the formation of biofilms, and colonic biofilms, in turn, have been linked to promotion and/or progression of CRC. Co-aggregation between F. nucleatum subsp. Animalis and CRC-linked species such as C. concisusGemella spp., H. hathewayi, and P. micra may contribute to both biofilm formation along CRC lesions and to disease progression.

Journal Anaerobe
Authors Avery V. Robinson, Emma Allen-Vercoe
DATE 08 July 2023
Bacteria in cancer initiation, promotion and progression

Cancer cells originate from a series of acquired genetic mutations that can drive their uncontrolled cell proliferation and immune evasion. Environmental factors, including the microorganisms that colonize the human body, can shift the metabolism, growth pattern and function of neoplastic cells and shape the tumour microenvironment. Dysbiosis of the gut microbiome is now recognized as a hallmark of cancer by the scientific community. However, only a few microorganisms have been identified that directly initiate tumorigenesis or skew the immune system to generate a tumour-permissive milieu. Over the past two decades, research on the human microbiome and its functionalities within and across individuals has revealed microbiota-focused strategies for health and disease. Here, we review the evolving understanding of the mechanisms by which the microbiota acts in cancer initiation, promotion and progression. We explore the roles of bacteria in gastrointestinal tract malignancies and cancers of the lung, breast and prostate. Finally, we discuss the promises and limitations of targeting or harnessing bacteria in personalized cancer prevention, diagnostics and treatment.

Journal Nature Reviews Cancer
Authors Geniver El Tekle & Wendy S. Garrett
DATE 03 July 2023