Clinical effects and applications of the gut microbiome in hematologic malignancies

Cancer. 2021 Mar 1;127(5):679-687. doi: 10.1002/cncr.33400. Epub 2020 Dec 28.


The gut microbiome and its effects on host immunity have exciting implications for cancer prognosis and therapy. Examples in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) demonstrate the role of the gut microbiome as a biomarker for clinical outcomes, and animal models demonstrate how microbiota manipulation may augment therapeutic responses. There are multiple mechanisms that gut microbiota may have in affecting distant tumor environments, including control of cytokine release, dendritic cell activation, and T-cell lymphocyte stimulation. Recently, there has been a marked interest in understanding interactions between host and microbiome in hematologic malignancies. This review summarizes the current understanding of the gut microbiome and its impact on leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and allo-SCT and highlights several broad methods for targeting the gut microbiome in therapeutic trials.

Keywords: butyrate; gut microbiome; hematologic malignancies; review; translational research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / etiology
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Transplantation, Homologous