Direct DNA Sequencing-Based Analysis of Microbiota Associated with Hematological Malignancies in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.


Alzahrani FM(1), Al-Amri A(2), Shaikh SS(1), Muzaheed(1), Alomar AI(1), Acharya S(3), Aldossary MA(1), Hassan FM(1).
Author information:
(1)Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
(2)Department of Internal Medicine/Oncology, College of Medicine, King Fahd Hospital of the Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
(3)Department of Public Health, College of Public Health, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.


INTRODUCTION: Bloodstream infections (BSI) among patients with hematological malignancies (HM) could predispose them to higher morbidity and mortality for various underlying conditions. Several microorganisms, either pathogenic or opportunistic normal human flora, could cause severe bacteremia and septicemia. While conventional methods have their own limitations, molecular methods such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) can detect these blood infections with more reliability, specificity, and sensitivity, in addition to information on microbial population landscape. Methodology. Blood samples from HM patients (n = 50) and volunteer blood donor control individuals with no HM (n = 50) were subjected to 16S rRNA gene amplification using standard PCR protocols. A metagenomic library was prepared, and NGS was run on a MiSeq (Illumina) sequencer. Sequence reads were analyzed using MiSeq Reporter, and microbial taxa were aligned using the Green Genes library. RESULTS: 82% of the patients showed BSI with Gram-negative bacteria as the most predominant group. E. coli comprised a major chunk of the bacterial population (19.51%), followed by K. pneumoniae (17.07%). The CoNS and Viridans Streptococci groups are 17.07% and 14.63%, respectively. Other major species were S. aureus (9.75%), P. aeruginosa (7.31%), A. baumannii (4.87%), E. cloacae (4.87%), and P. mirabilis (4.87%). 34.14% of the cases among patients showed a Gram-positive infection, while 14.63% showed polymicrobial infections. CONCLUSION: Most of the BSI in patients were characterized by polymicrobial infections, unlike the control samples. Molecular methods like NGS showed robust, fast, and specific identification of infectious agents in BSI in HM, indicating the possibility of its application in routine follow-up of such patients for infections.