Gut microbiome: A possible common therapeutic target for treatment of atherosclerosis and cancer

Semin Cancer Biol. 2021 May;70:85-97. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2020.06.017. Epub 2020 Jun 28.

Abstract

Human gut microbiota is a dynamic and variable system that can change over time and in response to different diets and treatments. There is currently no doubt that gut microbiota can provide interesting therapeutic opportunities, since it can metabolize biologically active molecules, drugs, and their precursors, and control their bioavailability. Moreover, it can produce both beneficial and dangerous metabolites that influence host's health. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the involvement of gut microbiota in two chronic human pathologies that represent the greatest challenges of modern medicine: atherosclerosis and cancer. Interesting parallels are observed between the mechanisms and possible treatment approaches of these pathologies. Some of the common effects of therapeutic agents targeting both pathologies, such as anti-inflammatory activity, are partially mediated by the gut microbiota. We will discuss the effects of common drugs (metformin, statins and aspirin) and various nutraceuticals on gut microbiota and outline the pathways of microbial involvement in mediating the pleiotropic beneficial effects of these agents in atherosclerosis and cancer.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Cancer; Gut microbiota; Inflammation; Nutraceuticals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Atherosclerosis / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Prebiotics / administration & dosage*

Substances

  • Prebiotics