Chemotherapy and the Microbiome

I’ve been receiving a lot of questions lately about the effects of chemotherapy on the gut microbiome. What I’ve discovered is that there is, in fact, very little literature that explores this information. In reading that, we must recognize that about 90% of all the published literature dealing with the microbiome has been published only in the last 5 years.

Chemotherapy as a term actually encompasses a broad array of interventions. Various chemotherapeutic agents are used to target particular diseases. Related to cancer in general, about 650,000 Americans get chemotherapy, in one form or another, each year.

One recent study, looking at the effects of chemotherapy on the microbiome, evaluated patients who were receiving chemo to prepare them for stem cell therapy. These were patients with a form of blood cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Continue reading