The Cancer Microbiome: Distinguishing Direct and Indirect Effects Requires a Systemic View

Joao B. Xavier, Vincent B. Young, Joseph Skufca, Fiona Ginty, Traci Testerman, Alexander T. Pearson, Paul Macklin, Amir Mitchell, Ilya Shmulevich, Lei Xie, J. Gregory Caporaso, Keith A. Crandall, Nicole L. Simone, Filipa Godoy-Vitorino, Timothy J. Griffin, Katrine L. Whiteson, Heather H. Gustafson, Daniel J. Slade, Thomas M. Schmidt, Marina R.S. Walther-AntonioTal Korem, Bobbie Jo M. Webb-Robertson, Mark P. Styczynski, W. Evan Johnson, Christian Jobin, Jason M. Ridlon, Andrew Y. Koh, Michael Yu, Libusha Kelly, Jennifer A. Wargo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


The collection of microbes that live in and on the human body – the human microbiome – can impact on cancer initiation, progression, and response to therapy, including cancer immunotherapy. The mechanisms by which microbiomes impact on cancers can yield new diagnostics and treatments, but much remains unknown. The interactions between microbes, diet, host factors, drugs, and cell–cell interactions within the cancer itself likely involve intricate feedbacks, and no single component can explain all the behavior of the system. Understanding the role of host-associated microbial communities in cancer systems will require a multidisciplinary approach combining microbial ecology, immunology, cancer cell biology, and computational biology – a systems biology approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-204
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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