Exploring the impact of gut microbiota and diet on breast cancer risk and progression.


Teng NMY(1), Price CA(1), McKee AM(1), Hall LJ(1)(2)(3), Robinson SD(1)(4).
Author information:
(1)Gut Microbes & Health, Quadram Institute Bioscience, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK.
(2)Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK.
(3)Chair of Intestinal Microbiome, School of Life Sciences, ZIEL-Institute for Food & Health, Technical University of Munich, Freising, Germany.
(4)School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, UK.


There is emerging evidence that resident microbiota communities, that is, the microbiota, play a key role in cancer outcomes and anticancer responses. Although this has been relatively well studied in colorectal cancer and melanoma, other cancers, such as breast cancer (BrCa), have been largely overlooked to date. Importantly, many of the environmental factors associated with BrCa incidence and progression are also known to impact the microbiota, for example, diet and antibiotics. Here, we explore BrCa risk factors from large epidemiology studies and microbiota associations, and more recent studies that have directly profiled BrCa patients' gut microbiotas. We also discuss how in vivo studies have begun to unravel the immune mechanisms whereby the microbiota may influence BrCa responses, and finally we examine how diet and specific nutrients are also linked to BrCa outcomes. We also consider future research avenues and important considerations with respect to study design and implementation, and we highlight some of the important unresolved questions, which currently limit our overall understanding of the mechanisms underpinning microbiota-BrCa responses.