According to a latest study, the community of living bacteria, or in other words, “microbiome” existing in the cervix of a woman might constitute the primary reason behind her risk of developing cervical cancer. In order to conduct this study, researchers have used analysis of genes in order to successfully identify the bacteria present by taking samples of 144 Tanzanian females, having had screenings of cervical cancer in the period of March 2015 to February 2016.
Out of the women involved in this study, 126 were found to test positive for condition called human papillomavirus (HPV), while 41 were found to be HIV-positive. Further, 50 were adjudged with a diagnosis of high-grade lesions possessing high probability of becoming cancerous. Previous researches have revealed that HPV is single-handedly responsible for causing 99% of cancer of the cervix. Additionally, HIV infection has been found to be strongly associated to an elevated risk of the HPV infection.
Women carrying these high-grade cervical lesions deemed pre-cancerous had a significantly more diverse and abundant mixture of bacteria existing in the microbiomes of their cervix, as compared to women who possessed no lesions or comparatively lesions of less severity. This theory was put forth via the study recently published in the journal called mBio. There exist certain bacterial families seemingly associated with these high-grade pre-cancerous lesions. This argument has been proposed by the lead author of the study, Peter Angeletti. He’s an associate-level professor with the Nebraska-Lincoln University at its Center for Virology.
In a news release from the university, he further said that as of now, a significant relationship has been established, linking the microbiome to the virus that is commonly associated with cancer of the cervix. In particular, Mycoplasma bacteria might help in promoting growth of cervical lesions related to HPV. Mycoplasma constitutes a particular set of bacteria which can cause infections of the urinary tract, inflammation of the pelvis as well as pneumonia. Some of these bacterial forms may also be sexually transmitted, as per the news release’s background information.