Mycoplasma salivarium as a dominant coloniser of fanconi anaemia associated oral carcinoma

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Mycoplasma salivarium belongs to the class of the smallest self-replicating Tenericutes and is predominantly found in the oral cavity of humans. In general it is considered as a non-pathogenic commensal. However, some reports point to an association with human diseases. M. salivarium was found e.g. as causative agent of a submasseteric abscess, in necrotic dental pulp, in brain abscess and clogged biliary stent. Here we describe the detection of M. salivarium on the surface of a squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue of a patient with Fanconi anaemia (FA). FA is an inherited bone marrow failure syndrome based on defective DNA-repair that increases the risk of carcinomas especially oral squamous cell carcinoma. Employing high coverage, massive parallel Roche/454-next-generation-sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons we analysed the oral microbiome of this FA patient in comparison to that of an FA patient with a benign leukoplakia and five healthy individuals. The microbiota of the FA patient with leukoplakia correlated well with that of the healthy controls. A dominance of Streptococcus, Veillonella and Neisseria species was typically observed. In contrast, the microbiome of the cancer bearing FA patient was dominated by Pseudomonas aeruginosa at the healthy sites, which changed to a predominance of 98% M. salivarium on the tumour surface. Quantification of the mycoplasma load in five healthy, two tumour- and two leukoplakia-FA patients by TaqMan-PCR confirmed the prevalence of M. salivarium at the tumour sites. These new findings suggest that this mycoplasma species with its reduced coding capacity found ideal breeding grounds at the tumour sites. Interestingly, the oral cavity of all FA patients and especially samples at the tumour sites were in addition positive for Candida albicans. It remains to be elucidated in further studies whether M. salivarium can be used as a predictive biomarker for tumour development in these patients.




Henrich, B., Rumming, M., Sczyrba, A., Velleuer, E., Dietrich, R., Gerlach, W., … Fischer, U. (2014). Mycoplasma salivarium as a dominant coloniser of fanconi anaemia associated oral carcinoma. PLoS ONE, 9(3).

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