Humans are host to complex microbial communities previously termed normal flora and largely overlooked. However, resident microbes contribute to both health and disease. Investigators are beginning to define microbes that contribute to the development of gastrointestinal malignancies and the mechanisms by which this occurs. Resident microbes can induce inflammation, leading to cell proliferation and altered stem cell dynamics, which can lead to alterations in DNA integrity and immune regulation and promote carcinogenesis. Studies in human patients and rodent models of cancer have identified alterations in the microbiota of the stomach, esophagus, and colon that increase the risk for malignancy.
Published by Elsevier Inc.