Fusobacterium nucleatum and colorectal cancer: From phenomenon to mechanism

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2022 Nov 29:12:1020583. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2022.1020583. eCollection 2022.


Colorectal cancer(CRC) is the third most frequent malignant tumor. The gut microbiome acts as a vital component of CRC etiology. Fusobacterium nucleatum(Fn) is a key member of colorectal cancer-associated bacteria. But we lack a systematic and in-depth understanding on its role in CRC evolution. In this article, We reviewed the abundance changes and distribution of Fn in CRC occurrence and development, potential effect of Fn in the initiation of CRC, the source of intratumoral Fn and the cause of its tropism to CRC. In addition, We described the mechanism by which Fn promotes the malignant biological behavior of CRC, affects CRC response to therapy, and shapes the tumor immune microenvironment in great detail. Based on the relationship between Fn and CRC, we proposed strategies for CRC prevention and treatment, and discussed the feasibility and limitations of specific cases, to gain insights into further basic and clinical research in the future.

Keywords: Fusobacterium nucleatum; colorectal cancer; immune microenvironment; metabolic reprogramming; metastasis; prevention; stemness; therapy response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Tumor Microenvironment