TechLife Australia - - HOTSPOT -

Two re­cent stud­ies have shown that pa­tients’ gut bac­te­ria can in­flu­ence how well they re­spond to can­cer treat­ments. Both stud­ies, one from France and one from the US, col­lected data from pa­tients un­der­go­ing im­munother­apy, which help to com­bat can­cer by en­abling im­mune cells to recog­nise and at­tack tu­mours.

The French study in­volved 249 pa­tients re­ceiv­ing im­munother­apy for kid­ney, blad­der or lung can­cers, 69 of whom had taken an­tibi­otics for rou­tine in­fec­tions. An­tibi­otics dis­rupt the mi­cro­biome, af­fect­ing both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bac­te­ria. On aver­age, pa­tients who took an­tibi­otics dur­ing treat­ment were more likely to have re­lapses and did not sur­vive as long.

The US study also com­pared the dif­fer­ent gut bac­te­ria present in 112 me­lanoma pa­tients. Pa­tients who re­sponded well to treat­ment were more likely to have more di­verse mi­cro­biomes and higher num­bers of cer­tain ben­e­fi­cial species. Pa­tients with more of these ‘good’ bac­te­ria were found to have more can­cer-killing im­mune cells in their tu­mours.

The results from both stud­ies hold a lot of prom­ise. The hy­poth­e­sis is that by sup­port­ing a healthy mi­cro­biome, im­munother­apy is more likely to be ef­fec­tive at shrink­ing tu­mours.

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