The Power of Multi-Omics: a Microbiome Atlas Unravels Cancer Mysteries

The Power of Multi-Omics: a Microbiome Atlas Unravels Cancer Mysteries

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A recent study provided several novel insights for biomarker identification and patient stratification in colon cancer using integrative multi-omics profiling. In addition to this potential to find biomarkers, the researchers from this study have developed a microbiome signature composite score (known as a mICRoScore) that predicts probability of patient survival.


Colon cancer remains a significant challenge in the field of oncology, and while advances in our understanding of this disease have been made, there’s still much to discover. Traditional biomarkers and clinical guidelines have provided some insights, but a lack of comprehensive multi-omics data with extensive follow-up information has limited our ability to pinpoint accurate prognostic markers and personalized treatment strategies. However, a groundbreaking study has changed the game, offering a fresh perspective on colon cancer.

In a recently completed study titled “An integrated tumor, immune, and microbiome atlas of colon cancer” (AC-ICAM), researchers leveraged cutting-edge genomic analyses to uncover the intricate web of interactions within colon cancer, shedding light on new biomarkers and potential therapies.

The AC-ICAM Atlas 

The AC-ICAM study set out to create a vast multi-omics dataset encompassing RNA, whole-exome sequencing, deep T cell receptor analysis, and bacterial microbiome sequencing on tumor and healthy colon tissue. Unlike previous datasets, AC-ICAM included extensive clinical data and patient follow-up, providing a holistic view of colon cancer biology.

Researchers examined a cohort of 348 individuals diagnosed with colon cancer. Their investigation encompassed a thorough analysis of both the genetic factors and the bacterial composition within colon cancer. Through their research, specific genes and bacteria were identified, demonstrating clear associations with improved survival rates among colon cancer patients. Subsequently, researchers devised a predictive scoring system aimed at assisting healthcare professionals in determining appropriate treatment strategies for individuals grappling with colon cancer. This score holds the potential to offer valuable insights into tailoring more effective approaches to patient care.

The Immunologic Constant of Rejection (ICR)

One of the most significant findings of the AC-ICAM study was the discovery of a gene expression signature called the Immunologic Constant of Rejection (ICR). This signature captured the presence of tumor-enriched T cell clones and proved to be a superior prognostic marker compared to traditional classifications like microsatellite instability.

Microbiome Signature and mICRoScore

The team also identified a microbiome signature driven by Ruminococcus bromii, associated with a favorable outcome. By combining this microbiome signature with the ICR, researchers developed a composite score called mICRoScore, which identifies a group of patients with improved survival probability.

Implications for Colon Cancer Research

The AC-ICAM Atlas has opened up new avenues for colon cancer research and treatment. It provides a rich resource for understanding the complex interplay of genetics, immune response, and microbiota in this disease. As we continue to delve into this data, it is hoped that we will discover innovative concepts within cancer research that will ultimately improve the prognosis and treatment of colon cancer patients.


The AC-ICAM Atlas represents a pivotal moment in colon cancer research. With its multi-omics approach and comprehensive clinical data, it has illuminated previously hidden facets of this disease. The Immunologic Constant of Rejection (ICR) and microbiome signatures offer exciting new possibilities for prognosis and personalized therapies. As we move forward, the AC-ICAM Atlas promises to guide us toward a brighter future in the fight against colon cancer.

Outsourcing Bioinformatics Analysis: How Bridge Informatics Can Help

Groundbreaking studies like these are made possible by technological advances making biological data generation, storage and analysis faster and more accessible than ever before. From pipeline development and software engineering to deploying existing bioinformatics tools, Bridge Informatics can help you on every step of your research journey.
As experts across data types from leading sequencing platforms, we can help you tackle the challenging computational tasks of storing, analyzing and interpreting genomic and transcriptomic data. Bridge Informatics’ bioinformaticians are trained bench biologists, so they understand the biological questions driving your computational analysis. Click here to schedule a free introductory call with a member of our team.

Haider M. Hassan, Data Scientist, Bridge Informatics

Haider is one of our premier data scientists. He provides bioinformatic services to clients, including high throughput sequencing, data pre-processing, analysis, and custom pipeline development. Drawing on his rich experience with a variety of high-throughput sequencing technologies, Haider analyzes transcriptional (spatial and single-cell), epigenetic, and genetic landscapes.

Before joining Bridge Informatics, Haider was a Postdoctoral Associate at the London Regional Cancer Centre in Ontario, Canada. During his postdoc, he investigated the epigenetics of late-onset liver cancer using murine and human models. Haider holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Western University, where he studied the molecular mechanisms behind oncogenesis. Haider still lives in Ontario and enjoys spending his spare time visiting local parks. If you’re interested in reaching out, please email [email protected] or [email protected]

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