Microbiota in cancer development and treatment

  • Muhammad Hassan Raza
  • Kamni Gul
  • Abida Arshad
  • Naveeda Riaz
  • Usman Waheed
  • Abdul Rauf
  • Fahad Aldakheel
  • Shatha Alduraywish
  • Maqbool Ur Rehman
  • Muhammad Abdullah
  • Muhammad Arshad
Review – Cancer Research



Human microbiota comprises of a variety of organisms ranging from bacterial species to viruses, fungi, and protozoa which are present on the epidermal and mucosal barriers of the body. It plays a key role in health and survival of the host by regulation of the systemic functions. Its apparent functions in modulation of the host immune system, inducing carcinogenesis and regulation of the response to the cancer therapy through a variety of mechanisms such as bacterial dysbiosis, production of genotoxins, pathobionts, and disruption of the host metabolism are increasingly becoming evident.


Different electronic databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, and Web of Science were searched for relevant literature which has been reviewed in this article.


Characterization of the microbiome particularly gut microbiota, understanding of the host–microbiota interactions, and its potential for therapeutic exploitation are necessary for the development of novel anticancer therapeutic strategies with better efficacy and lowered off-target side effects.


In this review, the role of microbiota is explained in carcinogenesis, mechanisms of microbiota-mediated carcinogenesis, and role of gut microbiota in modulation of cancer therapy.


Microbiome Gut microbiota Carcinogenesis Cancer therapy 



Not applicable.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Hassan Raza
    • 1
  • Kamni Gul
    • 1
  • Abida Arshad
    • 2
  • Naveeda Riaz
    • 1
  • Usman Waheed
    • 3
  • Abdul Rauf
    • 4
  • Fahad Aldakheel
    • 5
  • Shatha Alduraywish
    • 6
  • Maqbool Ur Rehman
    • 1
  • Muhammad Abdullah
    • 1
  • Muhammad Arshad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Bioinformatics and BiotechnologyInternational Islamic UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.Department of BiologyPMAS-Arid Agriculture UniversityRawalpindiPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Pathology and Blood BankShaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyAzad Jammu and Kashmir UniversityMuzaffarabadPakistan
  5. 5.Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, College of Applied Medical SciencesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  6. 6.Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of MedicineKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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