Microbiome-based signatures of disease have focused primarily on the bacterial component of the microbiome for numerous reasons, including ease of sample preparation and depth of the curated bacterial database. However, even more numerous than bacteria are the bacteriophages of the viral portion of the mi-crobiome, which have emerged with identifiable disease signatures in other dis-eases, such as inflammatory bowel diseases. Here, G. D. Hannigan, M. B. Duhaime, M. T. Ruffin, IV, C. C. Koumpouras, and P. D. Schloss (mBio 9:e02248-18, https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02248-18) present a study that explores the potential bacteriophage signatures in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and the associated changes in bacterial signatures. Sampling from a cross section of 60 patients at different stages of CRC in addition to 30 healthy controls, this study highlights the need for greater exploration into the virome, including the “dark matter” of diverse forms that viruses assume in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Colorectal cancer