Robert F. Schwabe and Christian Jobin
Microbiota and host form a complex ‘super-organism’ in which symbiotic relationships confer benefits to the host in many key aspects of life. However, defects in the regulatory circuits of the host that control bacterial sensing and homeostasis, or alterations of the microbiome, through environmental changes (infection, diet or lifestyle), may disturb this symbiotic relationship and promote disease. Increasing evidence indicates a key role for the bacterial microbiota in carcinogenesis. In this Opinion article, we discuss links between the bacterial microbiota and cancer, with a particular focus on immune responses, dysbiosis, genotoxicity, metabolism and strategies to target the microbiome for cancer prevention.