Background: Adolescent/young adult Hodgkin lymphoma (AYAHL) survivors report fewer exposures to infections during childhood compared with controls, and they have functional lymphocyte aberrations. The gut microbiota plays a central role in immunity. Methods: We investigated whether fecal microbial diversity differed between 13 AYAHL survivors and their unaffected co-twin controls. Pyrosequencing of fecal bacterial 16S rRNA amplicons yielded 252 943 edited reads that were assigned to species-level operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and standardised for sequencing depth by random sampling. Microbial diversity was compared within vs between twin pairs and by case-control status.Results:The number of unique OTUs was more similar within twin pairs compared with randomly paired participants (P=0.0004). The AYAHL cases had fewer unique OTUs compared with their co-twin controls (338 vs 369, P=0.015); this difference was not significant (169 vs 183, P=0.10) when restricted to abundant OTUs. Conclusion: In this small study, AYAHL survivors appear to have a deficit of rare gut microbes. Further work is needed to determine if reduced microbial diversity is a consequence of the disease, its treatment, or a particularly hygienic environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1167
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 19 2013


  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • human fecal microbiome
  • hygiene hypothesis
  • survivorship
  • twin study


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