Microbiome and Anticancer Immunosurveillance

Cell. 2016 Apr 7;165(2):276-87. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.03.001.


Anticancer immune responses can be considered a desirable form of autoimmunity that may be profoundly shaped by the microbiome. Here, we discuss evidence for the microbiome's influence on anti-tumor immunosurveillance, including those that are indirect and can act at a distance, and we put forward hypotheses regarding mechanisms of how these effects are implemented. These may involve cross-reactivity between microbial and tumor antigens shaping T cell repertoires and/or microbial products stimulating pattern recognition receptors that influence the type and intensity of immune responses. Understanding how the microbiome impacts natural cancer immunosurveillance as well as treatment-induced immune responses will pave the way for more effective therapies and prophylactics.

Keywords: cancer; checkpoint blockers; immunity; immunotherapy; microbiota; pathogen recognition receptors; tumor-associated antigens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Therapy*
  • Dysbiosis
  • Humans
  • Hygiene Hypothesis
  • Microbiota*
  • Monitoring, Immunologic
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*