Spanish researchers identify two new biomarkers to detect anal cancer

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People with HIV, especially men who have sex with men, are at increased risk of developing canal cancer. In these patients, early detection of precancerous lesions is essential to prevent the tumor from developing. However, the techniques that are commonly used for this purpose can be greatly improved.

An international team, led by Spanish researchers, has identified two new biomarkers that could significantly improve this detection of precursor lesions of cancer (called high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions) and, therefore, prevent the development of tumors. Details of his work have been published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Specifically, these researchers have discovered that in the anal microbiome there are two metabolites produced by bacteria that directly correlate with the aforementioned intraepithelial lesions.

As they were able to verify, the production of succinyl-coA and cobalamin is increased in the microbiome of patients with precancerous lesions. Therefore, these metabolites may serve as useful biomarkers in clinical practice.

“Our goal is to create a diagnostic kit that allows self-sampling to measure these markers. This would mean a great saving of resources and would increase the accessibility of the diagnosis. The ultimate goal is to improve our ability to diagnose and therefore treat high-grade anal dysplasia more efficiently and effectively,” he explains. Sergio Serranoresearcher at the Ramón y Cajal Health Research Institute (IRYCIS), member of the Infectious Diseases service of the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid and first author of the paper.

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