A pan-cancer analysis of the microbiome in metastatic cancer

Cell. 2024 Apr 25;187(9):2324-2335.e19. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2024.03.021. Epub 2024 Apr 9.


Microbial communities are resident to multiple niches of the human body and are important modulators of the host immune system and responses to anticancer therapies. Recent studies have shown that complex microbial communities are present within primary tumors. To investigate the presence and relevance of the microbiome in metastases, we integrated mapping and assembly-based metagenomics, genomics, transcriptomics, and clinical data of 4,160 metastatic tumor biopsies. We identified organ-specific tropisms of microbes, enrichments of anaerobic bacteria in hypoxic tumors, associations between microbial diversity and tumor-infiltrating neutrophils, and the association of Fusobacterium with resistance to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) in lung cancer. Furthermore, longitudinal tumor sampling revealed temporal evolution of the microbial communities and identified bacteria depleted upon ICB. Together, we generated a pan-cancer resource of the metastatic tumor microbiome that may contribute to advancing treatment strategies.

Keywords: assembly-based metagenomics; fusobacterium; immune checkpoint blockade; immunotherapy; longitudinal sampling; metastatic cancers; pan-cancer; tumor microbiome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Lung Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Metagenomics / methods
  • Microbiota*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Neoplasms* / microbiology
  • Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors