Insights into the role of the intestinal microbiota in colon cancer

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2017 May;10(5):417-428. doi: 10.1177/1756283X17694832. Epub 2017 Feb 1.


The intestinal microbiota consists of a dynamic organization of bacteria, viruses, archaea, and fungal species essential for maintaining gut homeostasis and protecting the host against pathogenic invasion. When dysregulated, the intestinal microbiota can contribute to colorectal cancer development. Though the microbiota is multifaceted in its ability to induce colorectal cancer, this review will focus on the capability of the microbiota to induce colorectal cancer through the modulation of immune function and the production of microbial-derived metabolites. We will also explore an experimental technique that is revolutionizing intestinal research. By elucidating the interactions of microbial species with epithelial tissue, and allowing for drug screening of patients with colorectal cancers, organoid development is a novel culturing technique that is innovating intestinal research. As a cancer that remains one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide, it is imperative that scientific findings are translated into the creation of effective therapeutics to treat colorectal cancer.

Keywords: colon cancer; inflammation; microbiota; organoids.

Publication types

  • Review