The identification of a bacterium in colorectal cancers may lead to improved diagnosis, prevention and treatment mechanisms.
Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have discovered an abnormally large number of fusobacterium cells in nine colorectal tumour samples.
It is currently unclear if the bacterium causes the cancer or if the pattern will provide a possible lead for further discoveries.
Mathew Meyerson, senior author of the study, stated: "At this point, we don't know what the connection between Fusobacterium and colon cancer might be.
"It may be that the bacterium is essential for cancer growth, or that cancer simply provides a hospitable environment for the bacterium."
An animal study previously found that fusobacterium cells cause still birth and premature death in babies.
The bacterium, which is found in periodontal disease, enters the blood and specifically targets placentas and amniotic fluids.
Researchers also discovered that mice injected with fusobacterium from the placenta and amniotic fluids of women who have given birth to premature babies exhibited the same symptoms as mothers of premature babies.
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