Your Microbiome and link to Cancer: FEATURE

By: Medicision MEN's Editorial Team

Microbiome and Cancer

Microbial roles in cancer formation, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment have been disputed for centuries. Recent studies have provocatively claimed that bacteria, viruses, and/or fungi are pervasive among cancers, key actors in cancer immunotherapy, and engineerable to treat metastases. Despite these findings, the number of microbes known to directly cause carcinogenesis remains small. Critically evaluating and building frameworks for such evidence in light of modern cancer biology is an important task. A new report published in "Science" , the authors delineate between causal and complicit roles of microbes in cancer and trace common themes of their influence through the host’s immune system, herein defined as the immuno-oncology-microbiome axis. Further review evidence for intratumoral microbes and approaches that manipulate the host’s gut or tumor microbiome while projecting the next phase of experimental discovery.

The Role of Microbiome in Cancer

Few microbes directly cause cancer, but many seem complicit in its growth, often acting through the host’s immune system; conversely, several have immunostimulatory properties. Mechanistic analyses of gut microbiota–immune system interactions reveal powerful effects on antitumor immunity by modulating primary and secondary lymphoid tissue activities. Many of these pathways invoke Toll-like receptor–initiated cytokine signaling, but microbial metabolic effects and antigenic mimicry with cancer cells are also important. In preclinical models, microbial metabolites also regulate phenotypes of tumor somatic mutations and modulate immune checkpoint inhibitor efficacy.

Emerging evidence suggests that intratumoral bacteria exist and are active, with overlapping immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, electron microscopy, and sequencing data in ~10 cancer types. Preliminary studies further suggest that fungi and bacteriophages contribute to gastrointestinal cancers. However, the abundance of intratumoral microbial cells is low relative to cancer cells, and knowledge of their functional repertoire and potency remains limited. Further validation of their prevalence and impact is needed in diverse cohorts and therapeutic contexts.

The immunomodulatory effects of host microbiota have reinvigorated efforts to change their composition as a form of immunotherapy. Despite extensive preclinical evidence, translation of microbiota modulation approaches into humans has not yet materialized into commercialized therapies. Synthetic biology approaches are also gaining traction, with engineered bacterial cancer therapies in preclinical and clinical trial settings.

Understanding of the Roles of Microbes in Cancer

A better understanding of the roles of microbes in cancer provides an opportunity to improve each stage of the cancer care cycle, but major challenges remain. Concerted efforts to characterize cancer-associated microbiota among tumor, stool, and blood samples with gold-standard contamination controls would tremendously aid this progress. This would be analogous to The Cancer Genome Atlas’s role in characterizing the cancer somatic mutation landscape. Large-scale clinical trials are currently testing the efficacy of microbiota modulation approaches, ranging from dietary modifications to intratumorally injected, engineered bacteria. These bacterial cancer therapies, if safe and effective, could tremendously expand the cancer therapy armamentarium. Altogether, integrating the host-centric and microbial viewpoints of cancer may improve patient outcomes while providing a nuanced understanding of cancer-host-microbial evolution.

Development of Microbiome and Cancer

Historical accounts linking cancer and microbes date as early as four millennia ago. After establishment of the germ theory of infectious diseases, clinical research of microbial influences on cancer began in 1868, when William Busch reported spontaneous tumor regressions in patients with Streptococcus pyogenes infections. Over the next century, poor reproducibility, erroneous microbiological claims, and severe toxicity led many to discount the role of bacteria in carcinogenesis and cancer therapy. However, these studies provided the first crude demonstrations of cancer immunotherapy.

Contemporaneously, the viral theory of cancer flourished, spurred by the 1911 discovery of Rous sarcoma virus, which transformed benign tissue into malignant tumors in chickens. The decades-long search to find viruses behind every human cancer ultimately failed, and many cancers have been linked to somatic mutations. Now the field is encountering intriguing claims of the importance of microbes, including bacteria and fungi, in cancer and cancer therapy. This Review critically evaluates this evidence in light of modern cancer biology and immunology, delineating roles for microbes in cancer by examining advances in proposed mechanisms, diagnostics, and modulation strategies.

How Can You Improve Your Gut Microbiome ?

There are a few established microbiome testing examining the human gut microbiome BUT Australian company, MicroBA is a world leader in the development of the latest microbiome analysis technology through genome technologies, allowing you the ability to screen what is in your gut. More importantly, its one thing to know, but another to do something about it. This will give you a different aspects of health.

That is why Medicision MEN's have trained and certified MicroBA practitioners combined with our Nutrition team to provide you with the after support consultation, personalized nutrition/diet planning and even our partnered wellness centre, EMERGE MMA, to let you control and manage your own body. These elements can help you with managing your weight, weight loss and even your mental health.

Listen to Your Gut

Microbiome analysis of the human microbiome is the new focus of personalized health and now it is available to you. Having a healthy microbiome and understanding the bacterial species, both beneficial bacteria and pathogenic bacteria and the overall microbial communities in your body will not only improve your digestive health but also help improve your health and make an informed decision on health conditions.

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