Gut microbiota influence tumor development and Alter interactions with the human immune system

J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Jan 25;40(1):42. doi: 10.1186/s13046-021-01845-6.


Recent scientific advances have greatly enhanced our understanding of the complex link between the gut microbiome and cancer. Gut dysbiosis is an imbalance between commensal and pathogenic bacteria and the production of microbial antigens and metabolites. The immune system and the gut microbiome interact to maintain homeostasis of the gut, and alterations in the microbiome composition lead to immune dysregulation, promoting chronic inflammation and development of tumors. Gut microorganisms and their toxic metabolites may migrate to other parts of the body via the circulatory system, causing an imbalance in the physiological status of the host and secretion of various neuroactive molecules through the gut-brain axis, gut-hepatic axis, and gut-lung axis to affect inflammation and tumorigenesis in specific organs. Thus, gut microbiota can be used as a tumor marker and may provide new insights into the pathogenesis of malignant tumors.

Keywords: Gut microbiota; Gut-brain/liver/lung axis; Immunity; Metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Dysbiosis
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Proteins / genetics
  • Immune Checkpoint Proteins / metabolism
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Immune System / metabolism*
  • Inflammasomes / immunology
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy


  • Biomarkers
  • Immune Checkpoint Proteins
  • Inflammasomes