Human gut, breast, and oral microbiome in breast cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Front Oncol. 2023 Mar 17:13:1144021. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2023.1144021. eCollection 2023.


Introduction: Dysbiosis characterises breast cancer through direct or indirect interference in a variety of biological pathways; therefore, specific microbial patterns and diversity may be a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of breast cancer. However, there is still much to determine about the complex interplay of the gut microbiome and breast cancer.

Objective: This study aims to evaluate microbial alteration in breast cancer patients compared with control subjects, to explore intestine microbial modification from a range of different breast cancer treatments, and to identify the impact of microbiome patterns on the same treatment-receiving breast cancer patients.

Methods: A literature search was conducted using electronic databases such as PubMed, Embase, and the CENTRAL databases up to April 2021. The search was limited to adult women with breast cancer and the English language. The results were synthesised qualitatively and quantitatively using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: A total of 33 articles from 32 studies were included in the review, representing 19 case-control, eight cohorts, and five nonrandomised intervention researches. The gut and breast bacterial species were elevated in the cases of breast tumours, a significant increase in Methylobacterium radiotolerans (p = 0.015), in compared with healthy breast tissue. Meta-analysis of different α-diversity indexes such as Shannon index (p = 0.0005), observed species (p = 0.006), and faint's phylogenetic diversity (p < 0.00001) revealed the low intestinal microbial diversity in patients with breast cancer. The microbiota abundance pattern was identified in different sample types, detection methods, menopausal status, nationality, obesity, sleep quality, and several interventions using qualitative analysis.

Conclusions: This systematic review elucidates the complex network of the microbiome, breast cancer, and therapeutic options, with the objective of providing a link for stronger research studies and towards personalised medicine to improve their quality of life.

Keywords: breast cancer; dysbiosis; estrogen; gut microbiome; microbial diversity.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

Grants and funding

MT was supported by the Graduate Scholarship Programme for ASEAN or Non-ASEAN Countries, Chulalongkorn University. KP was funded by the Second Century Fund, Chulalongkorn University.