Harness the functions of gut microbiome in tumorigenesis for cancer treatment

Cancer Commun (Lond). 2021 Aug 6. doi: 10.1002/cac2.12200. Online ahead of print.


It has been shown that gut microbiota dysbiosis leads to physiological changes and links to a number of diseases, including cancers. Thus, many cancer categories and treatment regimens should be investigated in the context of the microbiome. Owing to the availability of metagenome sequencing and multiomics studies, analyses of species characterization, host genetic changes, and metabolic profile of gut microbiota have become feasible, which has facilitated an exponential knowledge gain about microbiota composition, taxonomic alterations, and host interactions during tumorigenesis. However, the complexity of the gut microbiota, with a plethora of uncharacterized host-microbe, microbe-microbe, and environmental interactions, still contributes to the challenge of advancing our knowledge of the microbiota-cancer interactions. These interactions manifest in signaling relay, metabolism, immunity, tumor development, genetic instability, sensitivity to cancer chemotherapy and immunotherapy. This review summarizes current studies/molecular mechanisms regarding the association between the gut microbiota and the development of cancers, which provides insights into the therapeutic strategies that could be harnessed for cancer diagnosis, treatment, or prevention.

Keywords: cancer biomarkers; chemotherapy; fecal microbiota transplantation; gut microbiome; immunotherapy; microbiota; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review