Role of the gut microbiota in tumorigenesis and treatment

Theranostics. 2024 Mar 17;14(6):2304-2328. doi: 10.7150/thno.91700. eCollection 2024.


The gut microbiota is a crucial component of the intricate microecosystem within the human body that engages in interactions with the host and influences various physiological processes and pathological conditions. In recent years, the association between dysbiosis of the gut microbiota and tumorigenesis has garnered increasing attention, as it is recognized as a hallmark of cancer within the scientific community. However, only a few microorganisms have been identified as potential drivers of tumorigenesis, and enhancing the molecular understanding of this process has substantial scientific importance and clinical relevance for cancer treatment. In this review, we delineate the impact of the gut microbiota on tumorigenesis and treatment in multiple types of cancer while also analyzing the associated molecular mechanisms. Moreover, we discuss the utility of gut microbiota data in cancer diagnosis and patient stratification. We further outline current research on harnessing microorganisms for cancer treatment while also analyzing the prospects and challenges associated with this approach.

Keywords: cancer; dysbiosis; fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT); gut microbiota; probiotics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenesis*
  • Dysbiosis* / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / microbiology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy