Importance The gut microbiome, home to the vast kingdom of diverse commensal bacteria and other microorganisms residing within the gut, was once thought to only have roles primarily centered on digestive functions. However, recent advances in sequencing technology have elucidated intricate roles of the gut microbiome in cancer development and efficacy of therapeutic response that need to be comprehensively addressed from a clinically translational angle.
Observations This review aims to highlight the current understanding of the association of the gut microbiome with the therapeutic response to immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, cancer surgery, and more, while also contextualizing possible synergistic strategies with the microbiome for tackling some of the most challenging tumors. It also provides insights on contemporary methods that target the microbiota and the current progression of findings being translated from bench to bedside.
Conclusions and Relevance Ultimately, the importance of gut bacteria in cancer therapy cannot be overstated in its potential for ushering in a new era of cancer treatments. With the understanding that the microbiome may play critical roles in the tumor microenvironment, holistic approaches that integrate microbiome-modulating treatments with biological, immune, cell-based, and surgical cancer therapies should be explored.
“In recent years, the consumption of over-the-counter probiotics to promote health has grown rapidly worldwide and become an independent industry. In medicine, various studies have demonstrated that probiotics can help improve the immune system and intestinal health. They are usually safe, but in some rare cases, they may cause concerning adverse reactions. Although the use of probiotics has been widely popularized in the public, the results of many probiotic clinical trials are contradictory. Particularly in cancer patients, the feasibility of probiotic management providing benefits by targeting cancer and lessening anticancer side effects requires further investigation…