The gut microbiota can orchestrate the signaling pathways in colorectal cancer

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Current evidence suggests that bacteria contribute to the development of certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer (CRC), partly by stimulating chronic inflammation. However, little is known about the bacterial impact on molecular pathways in CRC. Recent studies have demonstrated how specific bacteria can influence the major CRC-related pathways, i.e., Wnt, PI3K-Akt, MAPK, TGF-β, EGFR, mTOR, and p53. In order to advance the current understanding and facilitate the choice of pathways to investigate, we have systematically collected and summarized the current knowledge within bacterial altered major pathways in CRC. Several pro-tumorigenic and anti-tumorigenic bacterial species and their respective metabolites interfere with the major signaling pathways addressed in this review. Not surprisingly, some of these studies investigated known CRC drivers, such as Escherichia coli, Fusobacterium nucleatum, and Bacteroides fragilis. Interestingly, some metabolites produced by bacterial species typically considered pathogenic, e.g., Vibrio cholera, displayed anti-tumorigenic activities, emphasizing the caution needed when classifying healthy and unhealthy microorganisms. The results collectively emphasize the complexity of the relationship between the microbiota and the tumorigenesis of CRC, and future studies should verify these findings in more realistic models, such as organoids, which constitute a promising platform. Moreover, future trials should investigate the clinical potential of preventive modulation of the gut microbiota regarding CRC development.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 291604265