Over the last decades, the incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) in young adults has increased at an alarming rate. Global Westernization of diets, synthetic food dyes, physical inactivity, and sedentary behavior are key risk factors. The gut microbiota is at the intersection of early-onset CRC and those risk factors and can be seen as a dynamic living sensor of any change in the human body. Therefore, leveraging recent advances in next-generation sequencing can lead to novel microbiome-based prophylactics, diagnostics, and therapeutics to combat CRC in young adults.


Our goal is to apply a systems microbiome approach in geographically and demographically diverse cohorts to progress in the early detection of CRC in young adults. To this end, we have formed the research consortium PerMiCCion together with world-leading researchers in cancer, epidemiology, and bioinformatics field.

At PerMiCCion, we focus on:

  • stool microbiome as diagnostic
  • study of the CRC tissue microbiome for causal research
  • association of diet, lifestyle, and medication with gut balance and dysbiosis for CRC prevention
  • development of a microbiome Global Positioning System (mGPS) for personalized dietary and lifestyle recommendations (follow-up care for young adults with CRC)


With this approach, we hope to:

  • identify microbiome biomarkers for diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of early-onset CRC
  • discover and design microbiome-based interventions with prophylactic and therapeutic potential.


Yueqiong (Bernard) Ni
Tongta Sae-Ong
Bastian Seelbinder
Lin Lin Xu
Zhengyuan (Ryan) Zhou


Marfil-Sanchez A*, Seelbinder B *, Ni Y, Varga J, Berta J, Hollosi V, Dome B, Megyesfalvi Z, Dulka E, Galffy G, Weiss GJ, Panagiotou G#, Zoltan Lohinai Z# (2021) Gut microbiome functionality might be associated with exercise tolerance and recurrence of resected early-stage lung cancer patients. PLOS One 16(11), e0259898.
Gill H, Yim R, Pang HH, Lee P, Chan TSY, Hwang YY, Leung GMK, Ip HW, Leung RYY, Yip SF, Kho B, Lee HKK, Mak V, Chan CC, Lau JSM, Lau CK, Lin SY, Wong RSM, Li W, Ma ESK, Li J, Panagiotou G, Sim JPY, Lie AKW, Kwong YL (2020) Clofarabine, cytarabine, and mitoxantrone in refractory/relapsed acute myeloid leukemia: High response rates and effective bridge to allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Cancer Med 9(10), 3371-3382.
Heshiki Y, Vazquez-Uribe R, Li J, Ni Y, Quainoo S, Imamovic L, Li J, Sørensen M, Chow BKC, Weiss GJ, Xu A, Sommer MOA, Panagiotou G (2020) Predictable modulation of cancer treatment outcomes by the gut microbiota. Microbiome 8(1), 28.


Our cancer research is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the frame of the special program "National Decade against Cancer" (Funding code: 01KD2101)