Gut Microbiome: A Promising Biomarker for Immunotherapy in Colorectal Cancer

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Aug 25;20(17):4155. doi: 10.3390/ijms20174155.


Research has been driven towards finding therapy predictive biomarkers for colorectal cancer (CRC) with a special interest in studying the gut microbiome. Gut microbiome acts not only as a barrier to prevent bacterial invasion and infection, but it also affects the efficacy of hematopoietic-cell transplantation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Recently, immunotherapy, which potentiates the host immune system, has revolutionized cancer therapy in general and CRC treatment specifically by increasing the quality of life and the survival of a subset of patients with this disease. In immunotherapy, the gut microbiome plays an important role in cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) blockade, programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-L1) mediation, and T cell stimulation. As such, this review will cover the role of gut microbiome in CRC, summarize approved immunotherapy treatments for CRC, and focus on the potential use of gut microbiome as a biomarker for immunotherapy.

Keywords: colorectal cancer; gut microbiome; immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation / drug effects
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers