Microbiome, inflammation, and cancer

Cancer J. 2014 May-Jun;20(3):181-9. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0000000000000048.


Inflammation has long been suspected to play a major role in the pathogenesis of cancer. Only recently, however, have some mechanisms of its tumor promoting effects become known. Microbes, both commensal and pathogenic, are critical regulators of the host immune system and, ultimately, of inflammation. Consequently, microbes have the potential power to influence tumor progression as well, through a wide variety of routes, including chronic activation of inflammation, alteration of tumor microenvironment, induction of genotoxic responses, and metabolism. In this review, we will provide a general overview of commensal microbiota, inflammation, and cancer, as well as how microbes fit into this emerging field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / microbiology*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Microbiota*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology