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Arch Microbiol. 2010 May;192(5):315-20. doi: 10.1007/s00203-010-0559-7. Epub 2010 Mar 16.

Bacteriophages and cancer.

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Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Wroclaw, Poland.


Bacteriophages can be used effectively to cure bacterial infections. They are known to be active against bacteria but inactive against eukaryotic cells. Nevertheless, novel observations suggest that phages are not neutral for higher organisms. They can affect physiological and immunological processes which may be crucial to their expected positive effects in therapies. Bacteriophages are a very differentiated group of viruses and at least some of them can influence cancer processes. Phages may also affect the immunological system. In general, they activate the immunological response, for example cytokine secretion. They can also switch the tumor microenvironment to one advantageous for anticancer treatment. On the other hand, bacteriophages are used as a platform for foreign peptides that may induce anticancer effects. As bacterial debris can interfere with bacteriophage activity, phage purification is significant for the final effect of a phage preparation. In this review, results of the influence of bacteriophages on cancer processes are presented which have implications for the perspective application of phage therapy in patients with cancer and the general understanding of the role of bacteriophages in the human organism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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