J Cancer Prev.  2018 Sep;23(3):117-125. 10.15430/JCP.2018.23.3.117.

The Effect of Microbiota on Colon Carcinogenesis

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea. nayoungkim49@empas.com
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine and Digestive Disease Research Institute, Wonkwang University Sanbon Hospital, Gunpo, Korea.
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine and Liver Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Although genetic background is known to contribute to colon carcinogenesis, the exact etiology of the disease remains elusive. The organ's extensive interaction with microbes necessitated research on the role of microbiota on development of colon cancer. In this review, we summarized the defense mechanism of colon from foreign organism, and germ-free animal models that have been employed to elucidate microbial effect. We also comprehensively discussed the metabolic property of microbiota such as butyrate production, facilitation of heme toxicity, bile acid transformation, and nitrate reduction that has been shown to contribute to the development of the tumor. Finally, up-to-date subjects such as the effect of age and gender on microbiota are briefly discussed.


Microbiota; Colon; Carcinogenesis; Butyric acid; Bile acids and salts
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