Host–microRNA–microbiota interactions in colorectal cancer

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24 Scopus citations


Changes in gut microbiota composition have consistently been observed in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). Yet, it is not entirely clear how the gut microbiota interacts with tumor cells. We know that tumor cells undergo a drastic change in energy metabolism, mediated by microRNAs (miRNAs), and that tumor-derived miRNAs affect the stromal and immune cell fractions of the tumor microenvironment. Recent studies suggest that host intestinal miRNAs can also affect the growth and composition of the gut microbiota. Our previous CRC studies showed a high-level of interconnectedness between host miRNAs and their microbiota. Considering all the evidence to date, we postulate that the altered nutrient composition and miRNA expression in the CRC microenvironment selectively exerts pressure on the surrounding microbiota, leading to alterations in its composition. In this review article, we present our current understanding of the role of miRNAs in mediating host–microbiota interactions in CRC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number270
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: S.S. is supported by research grants funded by the NIH R03CA219129 and Chainbreaker Grant; C.Y., by the MnDrive—University of Minnesota Informatics Institute graduate fellowship. Due to space restrictions, we cannot cite many other significant contributions made by numerous researchers and laboratories in this potentially important and rapidly progressing field. We thank Dr. Mary Knatterud for assisting in manuscript editing.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Gut microbiota
  • Metabolic interactions
  • MicroRNAs


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