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Oncotarget. 2018 Apr 3;9(25):17915-17927. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.24681. eCollection 2018 Apr 3.

Microbiota effects on cancer: from risks to therapies.

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S.S.D Sperimentazione Animale, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, IRCCS, "Fondazione G. Pascale", Naples, Italy.
Direzione Scientifica, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, IRCCS, "Fondazione G. Pascale", Naples, Italy.
Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Uro-Gynaecological Oncology, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, IRCCS, "Fondazione G. Pascale", Naples, Italy.
Department of Medical Oncology, CRO- Aviano, National Cancer Institute, Aviano, Italy.
Department of Urology, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, IRCCS, "Fondazione G. Pascale", Naples, Italy.
Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Salerno, Baronissi, Salerno, Italy.


Gut microbiota, a group of 1014 bacteria, eukaryotes and virus living in gastrointestinal tract, is crucial for many physiological processes in particular plays an important role in inflammatory and immune reactions. Several internal and external factors can influence this population, and shifts in their composition, have been demonstrated to contribute and affect different diseases. During dysbiosis several bacteria related to inflammation, one of the most necessary factors in carcinogenesis; it has been shown that some bacterial strains through deregulation of different signals/pathways may affect tumor development through the production of many factors. Gut microbiota might be considered as a holistic hub point for cancer development: direct and indirect involvements have been studying in several neoplasms such as colon rectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and breast cancer. This review discuss over the evidence of crosstalk between gut microbiota and cancer, its ability to modulate chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, and the possibility that the intestinal microbial is a new target for therapeutic approaches to improve the prognosis and quality of life of cancer patients.


cancer; colon rectal cancer; gut microbiota; inflammation; probiotics

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The authors have no relevant competing interests.

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