Interplay between Dietary Polyphenols and Oral and Gut Microbiota in the Development of Colorectal Cancer

Nutrients. 2020 Feb 27;12(3):625. doi: 10.3390/nu12030625.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most diagnosed type of cancer worldwide. Dietary features play an important role in its development, and the involvement of human microbial communities in this pathology has also recently been recognized. Individuals with CRC display alterations in gut bacterial composition and a notably higher abundance of putative oral bacteria in colonic tumors. Many experimental studies and preclinical evidence propose that dietary polyphenols have a relevant role in CRC development and progression, mainly attributed to their immunomodulatory activities. Furthermore, polyphenols can modulate oral and gut microbiota, and in turn, intestinal microbes catabolize polyphenols to release metabolites that are often more active and better absorbed than the original phenolic compounds. The current study aimed to review and summarize current knowledge on the role of microbiota and the interactions between dietary polyphenols and microbiota in relation to CRC development. We have highlighted the mechanisms by which dietary polyphenols and/or their microbial metabolites exert their action on the pathogenesis and prevention of CRC as modulators of the composition and/or activity of oral and intestinal microbiota, including novel screening biomarkers and possible nutritional therapeutic implications.

Keywords: colorectal cancer; diet; dysbiosis; gut microbiota; oral microbiota; polyphenol metabolites.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / diet therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / microbiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Polyphenols / metabolism*


  • Polyphenols