News Release

Eliminating bacteria, changing lifestyle could lower risk in people genetically susceptible to colorectal cancer

Peer-Reviewed Publication

The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Intestinal Tumors in Mice

image: The development of intestinal tumors (polyps) in mice (left) was prevented by modifying the composition of gut microbes (right). view more 

Credit: Sergio A. Lira, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

New York, NY— Bacteria in the gut are essential for the development of intestinal tumors in mice, according to research led by investigators from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Removing the bacteria may play a critical role in reducing cancer risk, the researchers write, in the March issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Sergio A. Lira, MD, PhD, Director of the Immunology Institute, and Professor of Immunology and Medicine, and his laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, used a transgenic mouse model to test the hypothesis that distribution of intestinal polyps (precancerous lesions) was dependent on the bacteria (or microbiota) in the gut. They treated the mice with antibiotics to eradicate the populations of bacteria living in the gut. The treatment proved effective in preventing polyp formation. The authors propose that bacteria cross from the gut into the tissue of the intestinal wall, promoting inflammation and tumor growth.

"This begins to get at some of the nongenetic factors that spur the development of colorectal cancer," said Dr. Lira. "Understanding the interplay between genetic mutations, gut bacteria, and inflammation may lead to new diagnostics and treatments for intestinal cancer."


National Institutes of Health grants 1R01CA161373-01 and P01 DK072201 provided funding to Dr. Lira for this research.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven member hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians, 12-minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers, over 45 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit Find Mount Sinai on: Facebook: @mountsinainyc YouTube:

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