Gut microbiota and cancer: How gut microbiota modulates activity, efficacy and toxicity of antitumoral therapy

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2019 Nov;143:139-147. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2019.09.003. Epub 2019 Sep 20.


Gut microbiota is involved in gastrointestinal carcinogenesis. Also, it modulates the activity, efficacy and toxicity of several chemotherapy agents, such as gemcitabine, cyclophosphamide, irinotecan, cisplatin and 5-Fluorouracil, and target therapy, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. More recently, accumulating data suggest that the composition of gut microbiota may also affect efficacy and toxicity of cancer immunotherapy. Therefore, the manipulation of gut microbiota through antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics or fecal transplantation has been investigating with the aim to improve efficacy and mitigate toxicity of anticancer drugs.

Keywords: 5-Fluorouracil; Cisplatin; Cyclophosphamide; Gemcitabine; Immune checkpoint inhibitors; Irinotecan; Microbiota; Tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / microbiology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents