COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY, vol.102, pp.1-10, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
Growing evidence suggests that cigarette smoking alters the salivary microbiome composition and affects the risk of various complex diseases including cancer. However, the potential role of the smoking-associated microbiome in cancer development remains unexplained. Here, the putative roles of smoking-related microbiome alterations in carcinogenesis were investigated by in silico analysis and suggested evidence can be further explored by experimental methodologies. The Disbiome database was used to extract smoking-associated microbial taxa in saliva and taxon set enrichment analysis (TSEA) was conducted to identify the gene sets associated with extracted microbial taxa. We further analyzed the expression profiles of identified genes by using RNA-sequencing data from TCGA and GTEx projects. Associations of the genes with smoking-related phenotypes in cancer datasets were analyzed to prioritize genes for their interplay between smoking-related microbiome and carcinogenesis. Thirty-eight microbial taxa associated with smoking were included in the TSEA and this revealed sixteen genes that were significantly associated with smoking-associated microbial taxa. All genes were found to be differentially expressed in at least one cancer dataset, yet the ELF3 and CTSH were the most common differentially expressed genes giving significant results for several cancer types. Moreover, C2CD3, CTSH, DSC3, ELF3, RHOT2, and WSB2 showed statistically significant associations with smoking-related phenotypes in cancer datasets. This study provides in silico evidence for the potential roles of the salivary microbiome on carcinogenesis. The results shed light on the importance of smoking cessation strategies for cancer management and interventions to stratify smokers for their risk of smoking-induced carcinogenesis.