Microbiome diversity in African American, European American, and Egyptian colorectal cancer patients

Amr Elkholy, University of Alabama, USA
Nagavardhini Avuthu, University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA
Mohammed Abdalla, Alexandria University, Egypt
Michael Behring, University of Alabama , USA
Prachi Bajpai, University of Alabama , USA
Hyung-Gyoon Kim, University of Alabama , USA
Doaa Header, University of Alexandria, Egypt
Reham AH. Abo Elwafa, University of Alexandria, Egypt
Hesham Hesham Saed Hesham Saed, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
Mansoor Saleh, Aga Khan University


Purpose: Although there is an established role for microbiome dysbiosis in the pathobiology of colorectal cancer (CRC), CRC patients of various race/ethnicities demonstrate distinct clinical behaviors. Thus, we investigated microbiome dysbiosis in Egyptian, African American (AA), and European American (EA) CRC patients.

Patients and methods: CRCs and their corresponding normal tissues from Egyptian (n = 17) patients of the Alexandria University Hospital, Egypt, and tissues from AA (n = 18) and EA (n = 19) patients at the University of Alabama at Birmingham were collected. DNA was isolated from frozen tissues, and the microbiome composition was analyzed by 16S rRNA sequencing. Differential microbial abundance, diversity, and metabolic pathways were identified using linear discriminant analysis (LDA) effect size analyses. Additionally, we compared these profiles with our previously published microbiome data derived from Kenyan CRC patients.

Results: Differential microbiome analysis of CRCs across all racial/ethnic groups showed dysbiosis. There were high abundances of Herbaspirillum and Staphylococcus in CRCs of Egyptians, Leptotrichia in CRCs of AAs, Flexspiria and Streptococcus in CRCs of EAs, and Akkermansia muciniphila and Prevotella nigrescens in CRCs of Kenyans (LDA score >4, adj. p-value <0.05). Functional analyses showed distinct microbial metabolic pathways in CRCs compared to normal tissues within the racial/ethnic groups. Egyptian CRCs, compared to normal tissues, showed lower l-methionine biosynthesis and higher galactose degradation pathways.

Conclusions: Our findings showed altered mucosa-associated microbiome profiles of CRCs and their metabolic pathways across racial/ethnic groups. These findings provide a basis for future studies to link racial/ethnic microbiome differences with distinct clinical behaviors in CRC.