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Review
. 2019 Mar;8(1):42-51.
doi: 10.1007/s13668-019-0257-2.

The Role of the Microbiome in Cancer Initiation and Progression: How Microbes and Cancer Cells Utilize Excess Energy and Promote One Another's Growth

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Free PMC article
Review

The Role of the Microbiome in Cancer Initiation and Progression: How Microbes and Cancer Cells Utilize Excess Energy and Promote One Another's Growth

Corrie M Whisner et al. Curr Nutr Rep. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Purpose of review: We use an ecological lens to understand how microbes and cancer cells coevolve inside the ecosystems of our bodies. We describe how microbe-cancer cell interactions contribute to cancer progression, including cooperation between microbes and cancer cells. We discuss the role of the immune system in preventing this apparent 'collusion' and describe how microbe-cancer cell interactions lead to opportunities and challenges in treating cancer.

Recent findings: Microbiota influence many aspects of our health including our cancer risk. Since both microbes and cancer cells rely on incoming resources for their survival and replication, excess energy and nutrient input from the host can play a role in cancer initiation and progression. Certain microbes enhance cancer cell fitness by promoting proliferation and protecting cancer cells from the immune system. How diet influences these interactions remains largely unknown but recent evidence suggests a role for nutrients across the cancer continuum.

Keywords: Caloric restriction; Cancer; Cell proliferation; Diet; Ecology; Immune system; Inflammation; Metastasis; Microbe; Microbiome; Microbiota; Neoplasms; Neoplastic processes; Nutrition; Western diet.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest

Corrie M. Whisner has received compensation from Ardent Mills LLC for service as a consultant and participation on a Scientific Advisory Board.

C. Athena Aktipis is supported by National Institutes of Health grant U54 CA217376 (to the Arizona Cancer and Evolution Center); however, this grant was not used to fund efforts in the preparation of this article.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Important metabolites and associated mechanisms that promote and inhibit the collusion of gut microbes and cancer cells. LPS, lipopolysaccharide; ROS, reactive oxygen species; RNS, reactive nitrogen species; SCFA, short-chain fatty acids

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