Gut dysbiosis has been associated with worse allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) outcomes. We reported an association between intrinsically vancomycin-resistant enterococci (iVRE: E. gallinarum and E. casseliflavus) gut colonization and lower post-transplant mortality. In this study, using an expanded cohort, we evaluated whether our previously observed association is species-specific. We included allo-HCT recipients with 1 positive rectal swab or stool culture for iVRE between days -14 and +14 of transplant. To investigate whether iVRE modulate the gut microbiota, we performed agar diffusion assays. To investigate whether iVRE differ in their ability to activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, we analyzed iVRE genomes for enzymes in the shikimate and tryptophan pathways. Sixty six (23 E. casseliflavus and 43 E. gallinarum) of the 908 allograft recipients (2011–2017) met our inclusion criteria. Overall survival was significantly higher in patients with E. casseliflavus (91% vs. 62% at 3 years, P = 0.04). In multivariable analysis, E. casseliflavus gut colonization was significantly associated with reduced all-cause mortality (hazard ratio 0.20, 95% confidence interval 0.04–0.91, P = 0.04). While agar assays were largely unremarkable, genome mining predicted that E. casseliflavus encodes a larger number of enzymes in the tryptophan metabolism pathway. In conclusion, E. casseliflavus gut colonization is associated with reduced post-HCT morality. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms for this association.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [grant number P30 CA77598] utilizing the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core shared resource of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health [grant number UL1TR000114]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
© 2019 Rashidi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.