The collection of microbes that live in and on the human body – the human microbiome – can impact on cancer initiation, progression, and response to therapy, including cancer immunotherapy. The mechanisms by which microbiomes impact on cancers can yield new diagnostics and treatments, but much remains unknown. The interactions between microbes, diet, host factors, drugs, and cell–cell interactions within the cancer itself likely involve intricate feedbacks, and no single component can explain all the behavior of the system. Understanding the role of host-associated microbial communities in cancer systems will require a multidisciplinary approach combining microbial ecology, immunology, cancer cell biology, and computational biology – a systems biology approach.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This article emerged from the conversations of participants of an innovation laboratory entitled 'Systems Biology for the Cancer Microbiome'. The innovation laboratory and this work were supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant U54 CA209975 to J.B.X.).
© 2020 The Author(s)