Intratumor Microbiome in Neuroendocrine Neoplasms: A New Partner of Tumor Microenvironment? A Pilot Study

Sara Massironi, Federica Facciotti, Federica Cavalcoli, Chiara Amoroso, Emanuele Rausa, Giovanni Centonze, Fulvia Milena Cribiù, Pietro Invernizzi, Massimo Milione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are rare neoplasms with heterogeneous clinical behavior. Alteration in human microbiota was reported in association with carcinogenesis in different solid tumors. However, few studies addressed the role of microbiota in NEN. We here aimed at evaluating the presence of bacterial infiltration in neuroendocrine tumoral tissue. To assess the presence of bacteria, 20 specimens from pancreatic NEN (pan-NEN) and 20 from intestinal NEN (I-NEN) were evaluated through Fluorescent In situ Hybridization and confocal microscopy. Demographic data, pre-operative investigations, operative findings, pathological diagnosis, follow-up, and survival data were evaluated. Among I-NEN, bacteria were detected in 15/20 (75%) specimens, with high variability in microbial distribution. In eight patients, a high infiltration of microorganisms was observed. Among pan-NEN, 18/20 (90%) showed microorganisms’ infiltration, with a homogeneous microbial distribution. Bacterial localization in pan-NEN was observed in the proximity of blood vessels. A higher bacterial infiltration in the tumoral specimen as compared with non-tumoral tissue was reported in 10/20 pan-NEN (50%). No significant differences were observed in mean bacterial count according to age, sex, ki67%, site, tumor stage. Mean bacterial count did not result to be a predictor of disease-specific survival. This preliminary study demonstrates the presence of a significant microbiota in the NEN microenvironment. Further research is needed to investigate the potential etiological or clinical role of microbiota in NEN.

Original languageEnglish
Article number692
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Bacterial infiltration
  • Bacterial invasion
  • Confocal fluorescent microscopy
  • Fluorescent in situ hybridization
  • Gut microbiota
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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