Gut microbiota injury in allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Nat Rev Cancer. 2018 May;18(5):283-295. doi: 10.1038/nrc.2018.10. Epub 2018 Feb 16.


Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is considered to be the strongest curative immunotherapy for various malignancies (primarily, but not limited to, haematologic malignancies). However, application of allo-HSCT is limited owing to its life-threatening major complications, such as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), relapse and infections. Recent advances in large-scale DNA sequencing technology have facilitated rapid identification of the microorganisms that make up the microbiota and evaluation of their interactions with host immunity in various diseases, including cancer. This has resulted in renewed interest regarding the role of the intestinal flora in patients with haematopoietic malignancies who have received an allo-HSCT and in whether the microbiota affects clinical outcomes, including GVHD, relapse, infections and transplant-related mortality. In this Review, we discuss the potential role of intestinal microbiota in these major complications after allo-HSCT, summarize clinical trials evaluating the microbiota in patients who have received allo-HSCT and discuss how further studies of the microbiota could inform the development of strategies that improve outcomes of allo-HSCT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Dysbiosis / etiology
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / drug effects
  • Graft vs Host Disease / etiology
  • Graft vs Host Disease / microbiology*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / mortality
  • Humans
  • Infections / etiology
  • Infections / microbiology*
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics / pharmacology
  • Transplantation, Homologous / adverse effects*
  • Transplantation, Homologous / mortality


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Prebiotics