Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 118–126 | Cite as

Salmonella-Mediated Cancer Therapy: Roles and Potential

  • Vu Hong Nguyen
  • Jung-Joon MinEmail author


The use of bacteria for cancer therapy, which was proposed many years ago, was not recognized as a potential therapeutic strategy until recently. Technological advances and updated knowledge have enabled the genetic engineering of bacteria for their safe and effective application in the treatment of cancer. The efficacy of radiotherapy depends mainly on tissue oxygen levels, and low oxygen concentrations in necrotic and hypoxic regions are a common cause of treatment failure. In addition, the distribution of a drug is important for the therapeutic effect of chemotherapy, and the poor vasculature in tumors impairs drug delivery, limiting the efficacy of a drug, especially in necrotic and hypoxic regions. Bacteria-mediated cancer therapy (BMCT) relies on facultative anaerobes that can survive in well or poorly oxygenated regions, and it therefore improves the therapeutic efficacy drug distribution throughout the tumor mass. Since the mid-1990s, the number of published bacterial therapy papers has increased rapidly, with a doubling time of 2.5 years in which the use of Salmonella increased significantly. BMCT is being reevaluated to overcome some of the drawbacks of conventional therapies. This review focuses on Salmonella-mediated cancer therapy as the most widely used type of BMCT.2.


Bacteria-mediated cancer therapy (BMCT) Salmonella typhimurium Cancer Molecular imaging Targeting Immune system 



This work was supported by the Pioneer Research Center Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2015M3C1A3056410). Nguyen V.H. was supported by the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2014M3A9B5073747).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Vu Hong Nguyen and Jung-Joon Min declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

The study was approved by the Chonnam National University Animal Research Committee and has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All subjects in the study gave written informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Korean Society of Nuclear Medicine 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Experimental TherapeuticsBeckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CaliforniaDuarteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Nuclear MedicineChonnam National University Medical SchoolGwangjuRepublic of Korea

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