Globally breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women. The breast consists of epithelium, stroma and a mucosal immune system that make up a complex microenvironment. Growing awareness of the role of microbes in the microenvironment recently has led to a series of findings important for human health. The microbiome has been implicated in cancer development and progression at a variety of body sites including stomach, colon, liver, lung, and skin. In this study, we assessed breast tissue microbial signatures in intraoperatively obtained samples using 16S rDNA hypervariable tag sequencing. Our results indicate a distinct breast tissue microbiome that is different from the microbiota of breast skin tissue, breast skin swabs, and buccal swabs. Furthermore, we identify distinct microbial communities in breast tissues from women with cancer as compared to women with benign breast disease. Malignancy correlated with enrichment in taxa of lower abundance including the genera Fusobacterium, Atopobium, Gluconacetobacter, Hydrogenophaga and Lactobacillus. This work confirms the existence of a distinct breast microbiome and differences between the breast tissue microbiome in benign and malignant disease. These data provide a foundation for future investigation on the role of the breast microbiome in breast carcinogenesis and breast cancer prevention.
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