A recent study in Nature found that people who live together tend to have similar microbes in their gut and mouth. The longer they live together, the more alike their microbiomes become. This suggests that diseases linked to microbiome dysfunction, like cancer, diabetes, and obesity, could be partly passed from person to person. So, the next time you share a pint of milk with your housemate, remember, you’re sharing more than just a roof! Read more about this under Article 1.
- Article 1: The person-to-person transmission landscape of the gut and oral microbiomes
- Article 2: Epidemiologic and genetic associations of endometriosis with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders
- Article 3: Cancer risk associated with PTEN pathogenic variants identified using multigene hereditary cancer panel testing
- Article 4: Receipt of targeted therapy and survival outcomes in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer
Article 1: The person-to-person transmission landscape of the gut and oral microbiomes
Person-to-person interactions can affect the gut and oral microbiomes, showing that microbes are often shared based on relationships and lifestyle. In this study, over 9,700 stool and saliva samples from individuals in 20 countries are analyzed, revealing that a lot of bacterial strains are shared between people, e.g., from mothers to infants, within households, and within populations. The study found that mother-to-infant transmission is particularly strong and lasts for a long time. Social interactions also play a role in how adults acquire microbes, particularly between people who live together. Additionally, the study found that oral microbiomes are transmitted mostly through contact with others and the amount of time spent together, rather than being passed down from parents. These findings suggest that person-to-person transmission of microbes may be involved in some diseases and should be considered in future research. Read the full article here.
In summary: Our microbiome is shaped by social contacts, potentially influencing health and disease susceptibility
Article 2: Epidemiologic and genetic associations of endometriosis with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders
A genetic link between endometriosis and depression is reported, highlighting the importance to consider both mental and physical health to understand endometriosis pathogenesis. Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects women characterized by the growth of the uterine lining outside of the uterus. In addition to pain and other physical symptoms, the condition is also associated with depression and anxiety. To better understand this link, researchers examined genetic and phenotypic data on about 8,000 women with endometriosis and 194,000 controls, identifying a specific genetic variant that is associated with both the condition and depression. Read the full article here.
In summary: Genetic link between endometriosis and depression
Article 3: Cancer risk associated with PTEN pathogenic variants identified using multigene hereditary cancer panel testing
The researchers tracked down pathogenic PTEN variants in 193 of the 727,091 individuals who were tested using multigene panel sequencing from 2013 to 2022. Together with personal and family history data, the hereditary cancer risk data pointed to a higher risk of female breast cancer, endometrial cancer, thyroid cancer, and colon polyps in individuals carrying pathogenic PTEN variants, along with a weaker association with ovarian cancer. The results suggest that pathogenic PTEN variants were associated with earlier disease onset, regardless of a clinical diagnosis. However, they observed little to no association between pathogenic PTEN variants and familial cancer, suggesting that many pathogenic PTEN variants arise de novo, consistent with previous reports. Read the full article here.
In summary: PTEN variants associated with increased risk for a range of cancers and earlier disease onset
Article 4: Receipt of targeted therapy and survival outcomes in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer
An observational study of treatment outcomes in patients with metastatic colon cancer indicates that only some patients experience survival benefits from targeted therapy. Current guidelines recommend treating metastatic colon cancer with targeted therapies based on mutation profiles, e.g., epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors. The researchers analyzed data from about 9,100 metastatic colorectal cancer patients and found that patients with certain types of tumors experienced improved survival when treated with EGFR inhibitors, which is in line with data from clinical trials. However, they found no survival benefit associated with the use of VEGF inhibitors over standard treatment, which highlights the importance of analyzing outcomes using data from routine clinical practice instead of only relying on clinical trial results. Read the full article here.
In summary: Mixed outcomes for targeted colon cancer therapies emphasize the need to analyze routine clinical practice data
 Valles-Colomer M et al. The person-to-person transmission landscape of the gut and oral microbiomes. Nature. 2023 Jan 18. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05620-1. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36653448. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-05620-1
 Koller D et al. Epidemiologic and genetic associations of endometriosis with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. JAMA Netw Open. 2023 Jan 3;6(1):e2251214. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.51214. PMID: 36652249. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/article-abstract/2798729
 Cummings S et al. Cancer risk associated with PTEN pathogenic variants identified using multigene hereditary cancer panel testing. JCO Precis Oncol. 2023 Jan;7:e2200415. doi: 10.1200/PO.22.00415. PMID: 36634299. https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/PO.22.00415
 Koroukian SM et al. Receipt of targeted therapy and survival outcomes in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. JAMA Netw Open. 2023 Jan 3;6(1):e2250030. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.50030. PMID: 36656585. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2800615