The Sarcoma microbiome as a therapeutic target

The Sarcoma microbiome as a therapeutic target

Researchers from Ohio Medical School and University have found the presence of large numbers of microbes in all types of Sarcoma and are suggesting that this should be a new therapeutic target.



Sarcoma is a general name for a type of cancer that can appear almost anywhere in the body. Broadly 

  • Soft tissue sarcoma (connective tissue), which maybe in muscles, tendons or nerves

  • Osteosarcoma which is associated with the bones.


The Mayo Clinic states that there are more than 70 different types of Sarcoma (e.g Leiomyosarcoma (which begins in smooth muscle tissue), Liposarcoma (which originates in fat cells in any part of the body), and Angiosarcoma (which originates in and around the blood and lymph vessels). 


As each is found only in a small number of people Sarcoma is termed a rare cancer and treatment depends on the actual type of sarcoma. It has tended to not be very successful. Even immunotherapy has shown poor results.


Research from Ohio University


Looking for other possible therapeutic approaches, researchers from Ohio State Medical Center and University analysed the different sarcoma tumour microbiomes. Using the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Genome Tissue Expression (GTEx) databases, they  produced RNA sequencing data  for each sarcoma subtype (1).

The researchers found a statistical correlation between the Sarcoma subtype, the microbiome make up and overall survival. Finding 1304 microbes in total, 431 were linked statistically to overall survival. 

Having ‘no microbes’ was linked to an improved survival.

Microbes were essentially bad news - 

Overall - 18 microbes were found in all sarcoma types. These included Bacillus sp., Streptococcus lutetiensis, Clostridium tetani, and Pseudomonas. Each was negatively correlated with survival 

Liposarcoma (de-eifferentiated) - 50 microbes were only associated with this subtype.

Leiomyosarcoma - 54 microbes were only found in this type of sarcoma, for example, Candida dubliniensis, Mycobacterium avium and Streptococcus.  

Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive said, “We have the Tabs Headington Interview on the CANCERactive Community. She was one of my patients. She had a sarcoma in her groin and had to give up during round four of a gruelling chemo regime. But we completely rebuilt her microbiome - we always do for cancer patients. Perhaps this was why she beat her soft tissue sarcoma. It certainly seems a potential way forward.

Go to: How Tabs Headington beat her Sarcoma





  1. The sarcoma microbiome as a diagnostic and therapeutic target. Meeting Abstract | 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting; Gabriel Tinoco, Marium Husain, Rebecca Hoyd, Malvenderjit Jagjit Singh, YunZhou Liu, Xiaokui Mo. Journal of Clinical Oncology Vol 39, Issue 15; 



  Approved by the Medical Board.  Click Here



2022 Research
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