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Cancer and the Microbiome

The role of the gut microbiome in the treatment, prevention, and detection of cancers


Review, 2023: Fungi and cancer

Review, 2019: The microbiome, cancer, and cancer therapy

Review, 2019: The Gut Microbiota in Causation, Detection, and Treatment of Cancer,_Detection,_and.99833.aspx

Review, 2019: Bugs, drugs, and cancer: can the microbiome be a potential therapeutic target for cancer management? "Gut microbiomes play an important role influencing chemotherapeutic and immunotherapeutic outcomes. Bacteria-targeting intervention can be an effective strategy for improving cancer treatment."

Review, 2019: Targeting gut microbiota with dietary components on cancer: Effects and potential mechanisms of action

Review, 2018: Grow With the Challenge – Microbial Effects on Epithelial Proliferation, Carcinogenesis, and Cancer Therapy "overview of how the bacterial signals and signatures may influence epithelial homeostasis and delineate mechanisms, which might be potential targets for therapy"

Review, 2018: Microbiota in cancer development and treatment "In this Review, the role of microbiota is explained in carcinogenesis, mechanisms of microbiota-mediated carcinogenesis, and role of gut microbiota in modulation of cancer therapy"

Review, 2018: The Complex Interplay between Chronic Inflammation, the Microbiome, and Cancer: Understanding Disease Progression and What We Can Do to Prevent It. "To date, microbes can be linked to almost every cancer, including colon, pancreatic, gastric, and even prostate."

Review, 2017: The human microbiome and cancer: -

Review, 2017: Research now suggests that the microbiota — commensal microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, and viruses that inhabit an organism — plays an important role in carcinogenesis, cancer progression, and treatment response:

Review, 2016: Microbiota dysbiosis: a new piece in the understanding of the carcinogenesis puzzle:

Review, 2013: The microbiome and cancer:

Altering the microbiome inhibits tumorigenesis in a mouse model of oviductal high-grade serous carcinoma (Apr 2021)

The gut microbiome switches mutant p53 from tumour-suppressive to oncogenic. Moreover, a single metabolite derived from the gut microbiota—gallic acid—could reproduce the entire effect of the microbiome (Jul 2020, mice)

Researchers discover that a bacterial protein promotes cancer (Dec 2018, mice) - Mycoplasma promotes malignant transformation in vivo, and its DnaK, a bacterial chaperon protein, has broad oncogenic properties

Healthy gut bacteria can help fight cancer in other parts of the body (Mar 2023, mice) Immune checkpoint blockade induces gut microbiota translocation that augments extraintestinal antitumor immunity

A gut punch fights cancer and infection. Microorganisms in the human gut can affect immune-system cells. Gut bacterial strains have been discovered that boost immune cells that have cell-killing capacity and that can target cancer and protect against infection. (Jan 2019):

How a healthy microbiome could supercharge the body's natural cancer-fighting cells. Particular [gut] microbiota metabolites enhanced the ability of killer cells to survive & form memory cells. These SCFAs change the way that the killer utilize fuels for energy generation (Jul 2019, mice) Microbiota-Derived Short-Chain Fatty Acids Promote the Memory Potential of Antigen-Activated CD8+ T Cells.

A gut bacteria (e.coli) toxin (colibactin) that damages DNA may be involved in bowel cancer. Revealing a microbial carcinogen (2019, in vitro, mice):

Interplay between viruses and bacterial microbiota in cancer development (2017): "healthy gut microbiota stimulates host immune system resulting in HBV infection clearance; sterilization of gut microbiota with antibiotics reduced the ability of adult mice to clear HBV infection"

Causal Link Between Anticancer Immunity and Gut Microbiome Identified Gut microbiota dependent anti-tumor immunity restricts melanoma growth in Rnf5−/− mice (April 2019):

How Gut Bacteria Are Shaking Up Cancer Research:

What gut bacteria can teach us about cancer treatment. Studies probe link between gut bacteria and treatment effectiveness:

Gut bacteria could help prevent cancer. New research offers evidence that anti-inflammatory 'health beneficial' gut bacteria can slow or stop the development of some types of cancer:


The three main types of blood and bone marrow cancer are leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Gastrointestinal microbial populations can distinguish pediatric and adolescent Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at the time of disease diagnosis:


New study finds Zika vaccine can treat brain tumors. The virus infection triggered a strong antiviral response, which elicited inflammation that killed GBM stem cells. Treatment of Human Glioblastoma with a Live Attenuated Zika Virus Vaccine Candidate (2018):


Review, Aug 2020: Breast and Gut Microbiota Action Mechanisms in Breast Cancer Pathogenesis and Treatment

Review, Mar 2019: Microbiome—Microbial Metabolome—Cancer Cell Interactions in Breast Cancer—Familiar, but Unexplored

Review, April 2019: The power of small changes: Comprehensive analyses of microbial dysbiosis in breast cancer "In conclusion, breast harbors a community of microbes that can communicate with the host cells inducing downstream signaling pathways and modulating various aspects of breast cancer growth and metastatic progression and an improved understanding of microbial dysbiosis can potentially reduce breast cancer risk and improve outcomes of breast cancer patients"

Gut Microbiome Linked to Breast Microbiome and Breast Cancer (Jun 2021, FMT in mice, fish oil supplements in humans) Diet alters entero-mammary signaling to regulate the breast microbiome and tumorigenesis

Intestinal microbiota influences clinical outcome and side effects of early breast cancer treatment (May 2021, n=121)

Unhealthy gut promotes spread of breast cancer. (May 2019, mice) Pre-existing commensal dysbiosis is a host-intrinsic regulator of tissue inflammation and tumor cell dissemination in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer

Pattern of gut bacteria linked to effectiveness of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients (Sep 2020)

Disparities in Gut Microbiome Could Lead to Biomarkers for Estrogen-driven Breast Cancer (2016):

Breast Microbiome Changes May Alter Breast Cancer Risks (2016):

Identification of a novel cancer microbiome signature for predicting prognosis of human breast cancer patients (Nov 2021)


Review, 2019: The vaginal microbiota, HPV and cervical dysplasia: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. "Vaginal microbiota dominated by non-Lactobacilli species or Lactobacillus iners were associated with 3-5 times higher odds of any prevalent HPV and 2-3 times higher for high risk HPV and dysplasia/cervical cancer compared to Lactobacillus crispatus"

Review, 2018: Vaginal dysbiosis, and the risk of human papillomavirus and cervical cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis: "This study supports a causal link between vaginal dysbiosis and cervical cancer along the oncogenic human papillomavirus acquisition, persistence, and cervicovaginal dysplasia development pathway"

Gut microbiome diversity is an independent predictor of survival in cervical cancer patients receiving chemoradiation (Feb 2021)

Relationship between the Cervical Microbiome, HIV Status, and Precancerous Lesions (Feb 2019): "leads us to propose that Mycoplasma contributes to a cervical microbiome status that promotes HPV-related cervical lesions"


Review, 2019: Impact of the gut microbiome on the genome and epigenome of colon epithelial cells: contributions to colorectal cancer development

Review, 2018: Colorectal carcinogenesis: an archetype of gut microbiota–host interaction

Review, 2018: Role of Gut Microbiota in the Development and Treatment of Colorectal Cancer

Faecal microbiota transplantation, a promising way to treat colorectal cancer (2019, commentary) Gut microbiota from colorectal cancer patients enhances the progression of intestinal adenoma in Apcmin/+ mice.

Replacing laboratory mice's gut microbiomes with the microbial communities of their wild counterparts alters the lab animals' immune systems and boosts their resistance to colorectal cancer development and influenza (2018)

Mycobacterium potentiates protection from colorectal cancer by gut microbial alterations (Oct 2022, mice) "using a fecal microbiota transplantation and a comparison between separate housing and cohousing, we demonstrated that the gut microbiota is involved in the protective effects"

A new study suggests that Clostridioides difficile is responsible for certain colorectal cancers (Aug 2022) Human Colon Cancer–Derived Clostridioides difficile Strains Drive Colonic Tumorigenesis in Mice

Editing of the gut microbiota reduces carcinogenesis in mouse models of colitis-associated colorectal cancer (Jul 2019) "The most significant finding in this study is that manipulating the intestinal microbiome is sufficient to affect the development of tumors"

Gut bacteria identified in colorectal cancer patients promote tumourigenesis via butyrate secretion (Sep 2021)

Virginia Tech researchers discover that mouth bacterium may cause colon cancer to spread (Jul 2020, in vitro) "our findings show that F. nucleatum both directly and indirectly modulates immune and cancer cell signaling and migration" Fusobacterium nucleatum host-cell binding and invasion induces IL-8 and CXCL1 secretion that drives colorectal cancer cell migration.

Endogenous murine microbiota member Faecalibaculum rodentium and its human homologue protect from intestinal tumour growth (Jan 2020, mice)

Single probiotic supplement (Lactobacillus helveticus NS8) suppresses colitis‐associated colorectal tumourigenesis by modulating inflammatory development and microbial homeostasis (mice, 2018):

Synbiotics suppress colitis-induced tumorigenesis in a colon-specific cancer mouse model (June 2019) (Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota and Bifidobacterium breve strain Yakult + 4G-β-Galactosyl-sucrose). "Conversely, neither probiotics nor prebiotics had any effect on inflammation and tumorigenesis"

Campylobacter jejuni promotes colorectal tumorigenesis through the action of cytolethal distending toxin (2018):

Neutrophils Restrict Tumor-Associated Microbiota to Reduce Growth and Invasion of Colon Tumors in Mice (2018):

In conclusion, this study suggests that local microbiome dysbiosis may contribute to functional changes at the cancer sites. Results from the current study also contributed to the list of metabolites that are found to differ between normal and tumor sites in CRC (2018): Metabolomics and 16S rRNA sequencing of human colorectal cancers and adjacent mucosa.

How a common oral bacteria makes colon cancer more deadly. "We propose a two-hit model, where genetic mutations are the first hit. F. nucleatum serves as the second hit, accelerating the cancer signaling pathway and speeding tumor growth." (Mar 2019) Fusobacterium nucleatum promotes colorectal cancer by inducing Wnt/β‐catenin modulator Annexin A1

Gut microbiota-stimulated cathepsin K secretion mediates TLR4-dependent M2 macrophage polarization and promotes tumor metastasis in colorectal cancer (Mar 2019):

Two meta-analysis of metagenomes papers discovering predictive and diagnostic markers for colorectal cancer (April 2019): -

Microbiome Makeup Determines Whether Rats Get Colon Cancer:


Cross-talk between the microbiome and chronic inflammation in esophageal cancer: potential driver of oncogenesis (May 2022)


Review, 2018: Microbial community reshaped in gastric cancer "Currently, it appears disrupted homeostasis and inter-individual variations of gastric microbiota are involved in cancer development"


Review, 2019: The Microbiome and Genitourinary Cancer: A Collaborative Review "There is preliminary evidence to implicate the members of the genitourinary microbiota as causative factors or cofactors in genitourinary malignancy. Clinical trials, such as fecal microbiota transplant to increase the efficacy of immunotherapy, are currently underway"


Review, 2017: The gut microbiome and liver cancer: mechanisms and clinical translation:

Imbalanced gut microbiota fuels hepatocellular carcinoma development by shaping the hepatic inflammatory microenvironment (Jul 2022, mice & humans) "This phenotype is transmissible via fecal microbiota transfer and reversible upon antibiotic treatment"

Bile Acids, the Microbiome, Immunity, and Liver Tumors (2018): Bile acids affect the expression of a chemokine ligand by liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, which in turn affects the extent to which a type of natural killer cell is present in and diminishes the burden of hepatocellular carcinomas in a mouse model of the disease.

Study finds gut microbiome can control antitumor immune function in liver. "if you treat mice with antibiotics and thereby deplete certain bacteria, you can change the composition of immune cells of the liver [due to bile acid changes], affecting tumor growth in the liver" (2018):

Alteration in gut microbiota associated with hepatitis B and non-hepatitis virus related hepatocellular carcinoma (2019):

Circulating Microbiota-Based Metagenomic Signature for Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (May 2019) "this model accurately distinguished HCC with an AUC of 0.875 and an accuracy of 79.8%"


Bacteria promote lung tumor development, study suggests. Commensal Microbiota Promote Lung Cancer Development via γδ T Cells (Jan 2019). "were able to greatly reduce the number and size of the lung tumors by treating the mice with antibiotics or blocking the immune cells stimulated by the bacteria"

Modulation of Pulmonary Microbiota by Antibiotic or Probiotic Aerosol Therapy: A Strategy to Promote Immunosurveillance against Lung Metastases (mice, 2018): "Aerosolized Lactobacillus rhamnosus strongly promoted immunity against B16 lung metastases as well. Furthermore, probiotics or antibiotics improved chemotherapy activity against advanced B16 metastases"

Alterations of fecal bacterial communities in patients with lung cancer (2018): "To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the correlations between certain specific bacteria and inflammatory indicators"

Lower airway dysbiosis affects lung cancer progression (Nov 2020)


Influence of gut microbiome on multiple myeloma: friend or foe? (Jun 2020)


Review, 2021: The oral microbiota and its role in carcinogenesis

Review, 2019: The microbiome and oral cancer: More questions than answers

"Our current theory is that your gut bacteria determine whether your oral bacteria cause cancer" (2017):

Periodontal pathogens are a risk factor of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma, independent of tobacco and alcohol and human papillomavirus (2019):

Oral microbial dysbiosis and its performance in predicting oral cancer (Jul 2020, n=116) "our analyses reveal signatures and functions of oral microbiota related to oral cancer"

Oral Microbiota from Periodontitis Promote Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Development via γδ T Cell Activation (Aug 2022)

Streptococcus mutans promotes tumor progression in oral squamous cell carcinoma (2022)


Akkermansia supplementation reverses the tumor-promoting effect of the fecal microbiota transplantation in ovarian cancer (Dec 2022) "FMT from patients with OC promotes tumor development in OC-bearing mice"

Researchers link ovarian cancer to bacteria colonization in microbiome (Jan 2023, n=64) Diagnostic and prognostic potential of the microbiome in ovarian cancer treatment response.

Gut microbiota dysbiosis promotes the development of epithelial ovarian cancer via regulating Hedgehog signaling pathway (Jun 2023)


Review, Jul 2020: The Influence of Gut and Tumor Microbiome on Pancreatic Cancer Outcomes

Review, Feb 2019: The role of the microbiome in immunologic development and its implication for pancreatic cancer immunotherapy "In this Review, we highlight the essential role of the microbiome in immune system development and maturation. We review how microbe-induced immune activation promotes oncogenesis, focusing particularly on pancreatic carcinogenesis, and show that modulation of the microbiome augments the anti-cancer immune response and enables successful immunotherapy against pancreatic cancer"

Fungi (Malassezia) accelerate pancreatic cancer The fungal mycobiome promotes pancreatic oncogenesis via activation of MBL (Oct 2019).

A faecal microbiota signature with high specificity for pancreatic cancer (Mar 2022)

Tumor Microbiome Diversity and Composition Influence Pancreatic Cancer Outcomes (Aug 2019) "fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) from long-term survivors prompted immune response and stifled tumors in a mouse model of the disease by altering the bacteria on the tumor"

Gut bacteria determine speed of tumor growth in pancreatic cancer. The population of bacteria in the pancreas increases more than a thousand fold in patients with pancreatic cancer, and becomes dominated by species that prevent the immune system from attacking tumor cells. (2018):

Tongue microbiome could help identify patients with early-stage pancreatic cancer (2019): - Tongue coating microbiome data distinguish patients with pancreatic head cancer from healthy controls:


Review, Mar 2019: The Human Microbiota and Prostate Cancer: Friend or Foe?

Gut microbiota-derived short-chain fatty acids promote prostate cancer progression via inducing cancer cell autophagy and M2 macrophage polarization (Aug 2023)

Gut Bacteria Found to Drive Progression of Advanced Prostate Cancer (Oct 2021) Commensal bacteria promote endocrine resistance in prostate cancer through androgen biosynthesis

Influence of Intratumor Microbiome on Clinical Outcome and Immune Processes in Prostate Cancer (Sep 2020, n=294) "We also identified microbes that contribute to tumor growth and are positively correlated with genomic alterations, dysregulated immune-associated (IA) genes, and prostate cancer stem cells (PCSC) genes"



Review, June 2019: Antibiotics and immunotherapy in gastrointestinal tumors: Friend or foe? "antibiotics may attenuate (weaken) the effect of immunotherapy"

In patients treated with an immune checkpoint blockade, exposure to antibiotics up to 1 year before checkpoint blockade may worsen outcomes, with fluoroquinolones emerging as the antibiotic class most strongly associated with inferior survival (Feb 2023, n=2,737) Impact of Antibiotic Exposure Before Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Treatment on Overall Survival in Older Adults With Cancer: A Population-Based Study.

"The findings suggest that a course of antibiotics, which can eliminate most gut microbes, is detrimental to immune checkpoint inhibitors because the bacteria can no longer play this role of immune accelerant" (Mar 2023)

Overuse of anti‐anaerobic drug is associated with poor post‐chemotherapy prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (April 2019):


Cancer is not directly caused by the bile, but by the dysbiosis the bile (secondary bile acids) causes: - Secondary bile acid‐induced dysbiosis promotes intestinal carcinogenesis (2017).

The study led by EMBL scientists focuses on a process in which certain gut bacteria turn bile acids that are part of our digestive juices into metabolites that can be carcinogenic (April 2019): -


Review, Mar 2019: Impact of Different Types of Diet on Gut Microbiota Profiles and Cancer Prevention and Treatment


Gut microbiome affects efficacy of cancer drugs: -

Researchers found certain bacteria hiding out among cancer cells, gobbling up chemotherapy drugs intended to demolish tumors.

Chemotherapy-driven dysbiosis in the intestinal microbiome. (2015): -

Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT):

(there's more in other sections on this page)

Review, 2023: Fecal Microbiota Transplantation as a Cancer Therapeutic

Review, 2020: Gut Microbiome Modulation Via Fecal Microbiota Transplant to Augment Immunotherapy in Patients with Melanoma or Other Cancers "We review emerging evidence regarding the impact of gut microbes on antitumor immunity, and ongoing efforts to translate this in clinical trials"

Fecal microbiota transplantation inhibits colorectal cancer progression: Reversing intestinal microbial dysbiosis to enhance anti-cancer immune responses (Apr 2023, mice)

Mayo Clinic study shows FMT is safe in cancer patients:

Fecal Transplant Heals Colitis [in 2 cancer patients] Caused by Immunotherapy (2018): Fecal microbiota transplantation for refractory immune checkpoint inhibitor-associated colitis.

New study shows human poop pills can help treat advanced melanoma (July 2023, n=20) Fecal microbiota transplantation plus anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in advanced melanoma: a phase I trial.


See also FMT section above

Review, 2020: Gut Microbiome Modulates Response to Cancer Immunotherapy

Review, 2018: Roles of intestinal microbiota in response to cancer immunotherapy

Review, 2018: The intimate relationship between gut microbiota and cancer immunotherapy

Anticancer immunotherapy by CTLA-4 blockade relies on the gut microbiota (2015):

Microbes Meet Cancer. Understanding cancer’s relationship with the human microbiome could transform immune-modulating therapies:


Gut microbiome can predict chemoradiotherapy efficacy in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (Apr 2023, n=51)

Gut microbiota modulate radiotherapy-associated antitumor immune responses against hepatocellular carcinoma Via STING signaling (Sep 2022, mice & 24 patients)


Review, Mar 2019: Importance of probiotics in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer "Research in clinical trials encouraging findings that support a role of probiotics in CRC prevention and improve the safety and effectiveness of cancer therapy even though additional clinical research is still necessary"

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG orchestrates an anti-tumor immune response (Jun 2021, mice)