Pancreatic Cancer and Microbiota Research

Pancreatic Cancer and Microbiota Research

Alfa Cytology is a leading provider of pancreatic cancer (PC) research services. We have many years of experience in PC molecular research and can provide a variety of quality services to our clients. Using 16S/ITS ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing and metagenomics, we can help global customers to investigate the microbial diversity of PC and the interaction between PC and microbiome.

Fig. 1 The potentially carcinogenetic roles of gut microbiota in PC. (Li, Quanxiao, et al., 2020)Fig. 1 The potentially carcinogenetic roles of gut microbiota in PC. (Li, Quanxiao, et al., 2020)

The microbiome and PC

The pancreas has been considered a sterile organ until recent studies found bacterial populations in both normal pancreatic tissue and PDAC tumor samples. PDAC tissue has been shown to possess a unique intratumoral bacterial profile with higher bacterial abundance compared to normal pancreatic samples. There are some of the most prevalent intratumoral bacteria phyla, including Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes. Among them, Proteobacteria accounts for the highest percentage. Similar to the bacterial findings, the fungal compartment (mycobiome) of the PDAC samples differed from the healthy samples and are enriched with Malassezia species.

In addition to intra-tumor ecological dysregulation, studies have shown differences in the gut and oral microbiota between PDAC patients and healthy individuals. PDAC patients are found to have significantly lower intestinal microbial and fungal diversity. Compared to healthy controls, PDAC patients also had a unique composition of intestinal microbiota. In addition, the microbial diversity of the tongue coating has shown a significant increase in PDAC patients, and the bacterial composition of the tongue coating is significantly different between PDAC patients and controls. There are several bacterial genera that can be used to distinguish PDAC patients from healthy individuals.

Fig. 2 Microbiota in pancreatic cancer. (Li, Jenny Jing, et al., 2021)Fig. 2 Microbiota in pancreatic cancer. (Li, Jenny Jing, et al., 2021)

The service offering at Alfa Cytology

Metagenomics and the sequencing of the 16S/ITS marker gene have greatly advanced microbiome research. We are now exploiting these techniques to help researchers and professionals to investigate the associations between certain microbiome patterns and PC. NGS-based sequencing of ITS and 16S rRNA genes are both well-established methods for microbiome research, allowing comparison of the phylogeny and classification of samples from complex microbiomes or environments that are difficult or even impossible to study. These methods provide a cost-effective way of identifying strains that may not be detected by traditional methods. While metagenomic analysis is a better option, but at a higher cost. This is demonstrated by the ability to have a better resolution at the species or even strain level, without the need for PCR library preparation.

Comparison of marker gene and metagenomic sequencing
Techniques Advantages Disadvantages
Marker gene sequencing -Fast and easy library preparation
-Suitable for low biomass or high contamination samples
-Well-established bioinformatics methods and tools
-PCR-induced bias
-The choice of primers and variable regions has a large impact on the taxonomic results
-Limited information and resolution
Metagenomic -Reliable abundance analysis
-High resolution at species and strain level
-Allow de novo assembly
-No need for PCR library preparation
-Provide abundant information on all sequenced and characterized microbes
-More expensive and time-consuming
-Deep sequencing needs

We are dedicated to offering reliable metagenomic and 16S/ITS rRNA sequencing for further in-depth study of PC and the microbiome. Our services can be applied to the following lists, but are not limited to:

  • The investigation of the microbial diversity of PC
  • The interaction between PC and microbiome such as oral and gut microbiome
  • Microbiome as biomarkers for PC early detection/diagnosis
  • Microbiome as biomarkers for PC prognostic indication
  • Microbiome as biomarkers for treatment response in PC

Thank you for choosing our services. You can contact us for more about our PC biomarker platform, or any other inquiries. Our customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day from Monday to Sunday.


  1. Li, Jenny Jing, et al. "The role of microbiome in pancreatic cancer." Cancer and Metastasis Reviews 40.3 (2021): 777-789.
  2. Ammer-Herrmenau, Christoph, et al. "The microbiome in pancreatic diseases: Recent advances and future perspectives." United European Gastroenterology Journal (2020): 205064062094472.
  3. Li, Quanxiao, et al. "Gut microbiota: Its potential roles in pancreatic cancer." Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology (2020): 564.
All of our services are intended for preclinical research use only and cannot be used to diagnose, treat or manage patients.