Fecal microbiota diversity in survivors of adolescent/young adult Hodgkin lymphoma: A study of twins

W. Cozen, G. Yu, M. H. Gail, V. K. Ridaura, B. N. Nathwani, A. E. Hwang, A. S. Hamilton, T. M. MacK, J. I. Gordon, J. J. Goedert

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32 Scopus citations


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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