The role of the gastrointestinal microbiota in colorectal cancer

Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(13):1524-7. doi: 10.2174/138161209788168191.


Both environmental and genetic factors contribute to cancers of the gastrointestinal tract including, the stomach, colon and rectum. The mechanisms associated with gastrointestinal cancer causation and prevention are largely unknown and the subject of much research. Many of the proposed mechanisms implicate the metabolic activities of the bacterial biota normally resident in the gastrointestinal tract. This review examines both the adverse and beneficial consequences of bacterial activity of the gastrointestinal tract focusing, in particularly on the stomach and large intestine. Studies on the role of the bacterial biota in colon carcinogenesis have also resulted in several useful biomarkers for use in human.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / enzymology
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Large / microbiology
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Risk
  • Stomach / microbiology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor