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Trends Mol Med. 2013 Dec;19(12):714-25. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

Microbiota impact on the epigenetic regulation of colorectal cancer.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608 USA; Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610 USA.


Mechanisms of colorectal cancer (CRC) development can be generally divided into three categories: genetic, epigenetic, and aberrant immunologic signaling pathways, all of which may be triggered by an imbalanced intestinal microbiota. Aberrant gut microbial composition, termed 'dysbiosis', has been reported in inflammatory bowel disease patients who are at increased risk for CRC development. Recent studies indicate that it is feasible to rescue experimental models of colonic cancer by oral treatment with genetically engineered beneficial bacteria and/or their immune-regulating gene products. Here, we review the mechanisms of epigenetic modulation implicated in the development and progression of CRC, which may be the result of dysbiosis, and therefore may be amenable to therapeutic intervention.


colorectal cancer; commensal bacteria; epigenetic regulation; inflammatory bowel disease; microbiota

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