26-Mar-2020 - Leibniz-Institut für Naturstoff-Forschung und Infektionsbiologie e.V. - Hans-Knöll-Institut (HKI)

Cancer: Study suggests that gut microbiome can provide prognosis for therapy

Possible correlation between success of cancer therapy and intestinal microbes

Cancer patients respond differently to therapies. The success of the classical treatment methods possibly depends on the composition of the microbiome in the gut. Study results obtained by researchers from Jena and Hong Kong point to that. For their study they investigated eight different types of cancer.

Around one out of six deaths worldwide is related to cancer. The best known treatment methods include chemotherapy and immunotherapy. These therapies work by inhibiting the further division of cancer cells or by supporting the immune system in killing the tumour cells. However, despite today's well-developed anti-cancer therapies, their efficiency is not as high as desired.

"All data indicate that the intestinal microbiome plays an important role in therapeutic success. So all the microorganisms living in our gut can somehow influence the outcome of therapeutic measures in cancer treatment," says Gianni Panagiotou from the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology in Jena. Together with his team he analysed stool samples of a group of 26 cancer patients treated with chemotherapy or a  combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The experimental group was small but consisted of patients with eight different types of cancer. The researchers were able to identify some common features in the stool analysis: "The intestinal microbiomes of those cancer patients who responded well to the therapy show a greater microbial diversity. In addition, the bacterial species found in their intestine differ from those of patients who responded less well to therapy," says Panagiotou. According to the scientists, the species Bacteroides ovatus and Bacteroides xylanisolvens have a positive effect on the course of therapy, whereas Clostridium symbiosum and Ruminococcus gnavus were found in  a higher amount in the of patients whose anti-cancer therapy was less successful.

With the help of these findings, Panagiotou and his team have developed a prediction model based on machine learning. In the long term, this model could make it possible to calculate the probability of successful anti-cancer treatment before therapy begins, regardless of the type of cancer. After entering the data already collected into the model, the scientists tested the accuracy of the predictions using a control group. In this test, the model proved to be highly accurate. "However, our control group was not very large. So our next task is to confirm the previous results with a larger number of comparison data," says Panagiotou. Together with his colleagues in the Jena Cluster of Excellence “Balance of the Microverse”, he is investigating the mechanisms by which microbiomes interact with their environment.

Leibniz-Institut für Naturstoff-Forschung und Infektionsbiologie e.V. - Hans-Knöll-Institut (HKI)

Recommend news PDF version / Print Add news to watchlist

Share on

Facts, background information, dossiers

  • cancer
  • microbiomes
  • machine-learning
  • prediction models

More about Leibniz-Institut für Naturstoff-Forschung und Infektionsbiologie

  • News

    Antibiotics affect balance of intestinal microbiome

    Treatment with antibiotics has a lasting effect on the microbiome in the digestive system. While the bacterial flora is largely regenerated within 30 to 90 days after drug treatment, its interaction with resident fungi changes. In a combination of bioinformatic analyses and laboratory exper ... more

    Tiny bodyguards

    The bacterium Pseudomonas tolaasii triggers brown spot disease in cultivated mushrooms and thus causes considerable harvest losses. The active compound Tolaasin, which is produced by the pathogen, damages the cell membrane of the fungus and the cells die. But with some support the fungus ca ... more

    Synthesis of pharmaceuticals with light

    A new synthesis method in organic chemistry enables the production of numerous pharmaceuticals without the use of toxic heavy metals. Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology in Jena (Leibniz HKI) discovered this reaction and subsequently deve ... more

q&more – the networking platform for quality excellence in lab and process

The q&more concept is to increase the visibility of recent research and innovative solutions, and support the exchange of knowledge. In the broad spectrum of subjects covered, the focus is on achieving maximum quality in highly innovative sectors. As a modern knowledge platform, q&more offers market participants one-of-a-kind networking opportunities. Cutting-edge research is presented by authors of international repute. Attractively presented in a high-quality context, and published in German and English, the original articles introduce new concepts and highlight unconventional solution strategies.

> more about q&more

q&more is supported by: