Current Colorectal Cancer Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 251–265 | Cite as

Insights Into the Relationship Between Gut Microbiota and Colorectal Cancer

  • João Felipe MotaEmail author
  • Jens Walter
  • Carla M. Prado
Nutrition and Nutritional Interventions in Colorectal Cancer (K Wu, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Nutrition and Nutritional Interventions in Colorectal Cancer


Purpose of review

There is growing evidence to suggest that gut microbiota plays an important role in colorectal carcinogenesis. Western diet is associated with gut microbial dysbiosis, which leads to inflammation, oxidative stress, and genotoxic effects, all common risk factors for colorectal cancer.

Recent findings

Fusobacterium nucleatum, Helicobacter pylori, Bacteroides fragilis, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus bovis are the main bacterial species associated with colorectal carcinogenesis. Gut microbiota transforms both diet- (meat, processed meat products, fat) and host (bile acids)-derived precursors into carcinogens and further interferes with anti-cancer drug metabolism, chemotherapy efficacy, and drug-induced toxicity. Nutritional interventions, as well as the administration of beneficial bacteria (probiotics), dietary fiber (including prebiotics) supplements, and synbiotics (probiotic + prebiotic), may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and side effects of anti-cancer therapy.


Current evidence suggests gut microbiota may predispose or protect against colorectal cancer. Restoring gut microbial dysbiosis is an emerging nutritional and clinical target in oncology.


Gut microbiota Colorectal cancer Anti-cancer treatment Probiotic Prebiotic Synbiotic 


Funding Information

C.M.P. is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Salary Award and the Campus Alberta Innovates Program.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

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


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Felipe Mota
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jens Walter
    • 2
    • 3
  • Carla M. Prado
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical and Sports Nutrition Research Laboratory (LABINCE), Faculty of NutritionFederal University of GoiasGoianiaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional ScienceUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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