Could Probiotics Enhance the Efficacy of Immunotherapy for Melanoma?

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These results suggest that we could alter gut microbiota using probiotics, prebiotics etc. in order to improve response to anti-cancer immunotherapy for melanoma

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Immunotherapy for melanoma has shown real results but only for a limited number of patients. The articles linked and excerpted below show a way to possibly increase the number of patients who respond to immunotherapy.

It sounds too simple a therapy to be true. But the ideas put forth in the articles fundamentally make sense. At least to me. Enhance your immune system to enhance the efficacy of immunotherapy. 

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The idea of “prehabilitation” is already well established in cancer therapy. In effect, the patient gets in shape to undergo surgery or chemotherapy. Studies show that when you prehabilitate you do better. Getting in shape for immunotherapy means that you take probiotics, eat yogurt and maybe drink kefir in the weeks leading up to your immunotherapy.

Further, the study linked at the bottom of the page cites immunotherapy for melanoma to be enhanced with the addition of conventional chemotherapy regimes.

I am a long-term cancer survivor and cancer coach. I believe that melanoma patients must find the best of both conventional and evidence-based non-conventional therapies to beat their complicated cancer.

Have you been diagnosed with melanoma? Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.

Thank you

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

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Potential of manipulating gut microbiome to boost efficacy of cancer immunotherapies

“The composition of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract may hold clues to help predict which cancer patients are most apt to benefit from the personalized cellular therapies that have shown unprecedented promise in the fight against hard-to-treat cancers…”

Gut bacteria can dramatically amplify cancer immunotherapy

“Introducing certain bacteria into the digestive tracts of mice with melanoma can help their immune systems attack tumor cells. The gains were comparable to treatment with anti-cancer drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors. The combination of bacteria and anti-PD-L1 nearly abolished tumor outgrowth, report scientists…

Our results clearly demonstrate a significant, although unexpected, role for specific gut bacteria in enhancing the immune system’s response to melanoma and possibly many other tumor types,””

Gut microbiota and melanoma treatment responses

“An academic study performed in Paris suggests that gut microbiota is associated with efficacy and intestinal toxicity of the drug, ipilimumab. Monoclonal antibodies directed against checkpoint molecules such as CTLA-4 have recently demonstrated success in cancer immunotherapy in patients with melanoma…

Due to the rising uses of ipilimumab in immunotherapy against melanoma, we sought to understand how differences in the composition of gut microbiota influenced drug response. Under what circumstance would ipilimumab lead to a successful anti-cancer response…

These results obtained in patients show a link between gut microbiota, the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors, and intestinal inflammation. They pave the way for a better identification of responders to this class of drugs. These results suggest that we could alter gut microbiota prior to immunotherapy, using probiotics, prebiotics, phages, antibiotics, peptides, and fecal transplantation in order to improve response to anti-cancer immunotherapy. Needless to say, many steps have to be passed before we get to this stage…”

Higher gut bacteria diversity tied to slower metastatic melanoma progression

“”Greater diversity of bacteria in the gut microbiome is associated with both a higher response rate to treatment and longer progression-free survival…

“The microbiome appears to shape a patient’s response to cancer immunotherapy, which opens potential pathways to use it to assess a patient’s fitness for immunotherapy and to manipulate it to improve treatment…

Combining Chemotherapy With Immunotherapy To Improve Response Rates

“Despite the excitement surrounding cancer immunotherapy, most patients don’t respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors. There is, however, growing interest in combining these agents with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and other treatments to boost their efficacy.1,2″


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