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Cancers (Basel). 2019 Jan 3;11(1). pii: E38. doi: 10.3390/cancers11010038.

Gut Microbiota and Cancer: From Pathogenesis to Therapy.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Oncologic, Clinic and General Pathology Section, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy. silvia.vivarelli7@gmail.com.
2
Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Oncologic, Clinic and General Pathology Section, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy. rossellasalemi@alice.it.
3
Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Oncologic, Clinic and General Pathology Section, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy. scandido@unict.it.
4
Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Oncologic, Clinic and General Pathology Section, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy. luca.falzone@unict.it.
5
Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Section of Microbiology, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy. m.santagati@unict.it.
6
Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Section of Microbiology, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy. stefanis@unict.it.
7
Department of Systems Medicine, Medical Oncology, Tor Vergata University of Rome, 00133 Rome, Italy. torino@med.uniroma2.it.
8
Division of Medical Oncology, Cannizzaro Hospital, 95126 Catania, Italy. gbanna@yahoo.com.
9
Department of Medical Oncology, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, 00128 Rome, Italy. G.Tonini@unicampus.it.
10
Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Oncologic, Clinic and General Pathology Section, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy. mlibra@unict.it.
11
Research Center for Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer, University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy. mlibra@unict.it.

Abstract

Cancer is a multifactorial pathology and it represents the second leading cause of death worldwide. In the recent years, numerous studies highlighted the dual role of the gut microbiota in preserving host's health. Gut resident bacteria are able to produce a number of metabolites and bioproducts necessary to protect host's and gut's homeostasis. Conversely, several microbiota subpopulations may expand during pathological dysbiosis and therefore produce high levels of toxins capable, in turn, to trigger both inflammation and tumorigenesis. Importantly, gut microbiota can interact with the host either modulating directly the gut epithelium or the immune system. Numerous gut populating bacteria, called probiotics, have been identified as protective against the genesis of tumors. Given their capability of preserving gut homeostasis, probiotics are currently tested to help to fight dysbiosis in cancer patients subjected to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Most recently, three independent studies show that specific gut resident species may potentiate the positive outcome of anti-cancer immunotherapy. The highly significant studies, uncovering the tight association between gut microbiota and tumorigenesis, as well as gut microbiota and anti-cancer therapy, are here described. The role of the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), as the most studied probiotic model in cancer, is also reported. Overall, according to the findings here summarized, novel strategies integrating probiotics, such as LGG, with conventional anti-cancer therapies are strongly encouraged.

KEYWORDS:

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG; anti-cancer therapy; cancer; inflammasomes; integrated therapy; microbiome; microbiota; probiotics

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