Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Fusobacterium nucleatum: caution with interpreting historical patient sample cohort

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-10, 17:11 authored by Kate JohnstoneKate Johnstone, Sinead ToomeySinead Toomey, Stephen MaddenStephen Madden, Brian DP O'Neill, Bryan HennessyBryan Hennessy

Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn) was first noted to be associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) in 2012. Since then there have been several publications in retrospective cohorts analyzing the relationship between colorectal tumor fusobacterial abundance, clinical and molecular characteristics and clinical outcomes. The majority of studies, including ‘Prognostic impact of Fusobacterium nucleatum depends on combined tumor location and microsatellite instability status in stage II/III colorectal cancers treated with adjuvant chemotherapy’ by Oh et al. published in Journal of Pathology amd Translational Medicine, utilize quantative polymerase chain reaction for the NusG gene in Fn relative to a control prostaglandin transporter gene (SLCO2A1). Many of these studies utilize formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue that has been stored for up to two decades. Although this enables a long follow-up period for clinical outcomes, recent data from our lab shows that advanced age of sample significantly impairs the ability to detect Fn.



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Published Citation

Johnstone KLF, Toomey S, Madden S, O'Neill BDP, Hennessy BT. Fusobacterium nucleatum: caution with interpreting historical patient sample cohort. J Pathol Transl Med. 2021;55(6):415-418.

Publication Date

27 September 2021

PubMed ID



  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Data Science Centre
  • Molecular Medicine

Research Area

  • Cancer
  • Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
  • Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Perinatal Health


The Korean Society of Pathologists and The Korean Society for Cytopathology


  • Published Version (Version of Record)