Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common cancers. In recent studies, the gut microbiota has been reported to be potentially involved in aggravating or favoring CRC development. However, little is known about the microbiota composition in CRC patients after treatment. In this study, we explored the fecal microbiota composition to obtain a periscopic view of gut microbial communities. We analyzed microbial 16S rRNA genes from 107 fecal samples of Chinese individuals from three groups, including 33 healthy individuals (Normal), 38 CRC patients (Fa), and 36 CRC post-surgery patients (Fb). Results: Species richness and diversity were decreased in the Fa and Fb groups compared with that of the Normal group. Partial least squares discrimination analysis showed clustering of samples according to disease with an obvious separation between the Fa and Normal, and Fb and Normal groups, as well as a partial separation between the Fa and Fb groups. Based on linear discriminant analysis effect size analysis and a receiver operating characteristic model, Fusobacterium was suggested as a potential biomarker for CRC screening. Additionally, we found that surgery greatly reduced the bacterial diversity of microbiota in CRC patients. Some commensal beneficial bacteria of the intestinal canal, such as Faecalibacterium and Prevotella, were decreased, whereas the drug-resistant Enterococcus was visibly increased in CRC post-surgery group. Meanwhile, we observed a declining tendency of Fusobacterium in the majority of follow-up CRC patients who were still alive approximately 3 y after surgery. We also observed that beneficial bacteria dramatically decreased in CRC patients that recidivated or died after surgery. This revealed that important bacteria might be associated with prognosis. Conclusions: The fecal bacterial diversity was diminished in CRC patients compared with that in healthy individuals. Enrichment and depletion of several bacterial strains associated with carcinomas and inflammation were detected in CRC samples. Fusobacterium might be a potential biomarker for early screening of CRC in Chinese or Asian populations. In summary, this study indicated that fecal microbiome-based approaches could be a feasible method for detecting CRC and monitoring prognosis post-surgery. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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