Microbial dysbiosis and colon carcinogenesis: could colon cancer be considered a bacteria-related disease?

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2013 May;6(3):215-29. doi: 10.1177/1756283X12473674.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is posing an increasingly important burden on the health care system, with western countries seeing a growing incidence of the disease. Except for germline DNA mutations which have been attributed to less than 5% of patients, little is known about the main causes of CRC. However, environment factors such as food, lifestyle and medication are now suspected to have a major influence on inducing cancers. Today, exhaustive quantitative and qualitative evaluation of all environmental factors is not possible. Various environment-induced diseases have been characterized based on colon microflora, also called microbiota, analyses. Growing data have shown specific changes in microflora (i.e. dysbiosis) in the stools of patients with colon cancer or those adherent to the colonic mucosa. Thus, it appears that microbiota may be considered a platform offering host and environment interactions for studying CRCs. The hypothesis that colon cancer might be a bacteria-related disease is suggested and perspectives are discussed.

Keywords: bacteria; bacteria–host interaction; colon cancer; environment; genetic.