Worldwide, colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths. Recent advances in high-throughput technologies have shown that the gut microbiota may have a major influence on human health, including CRC. Nonetheless, how the gut microbiota interacts with tumor cells in CRC patients is largely unknown. Studies have shown that the microbiota fills in a variety of niche metabolic pathways that the host does not possess. For example, the microbiota produces butyrate, which provides the colon's epithelial cells with about 70% of their energy needs. The typically fast proliferation of tumor cells in CRC patients drastically alters the tumor's nutrient microenvironment. Those alterations correspond to the microbiota composition and functional changes. In tumor cells, a central mediator of metabolic changes is the aberrant expression of microRNAs (miRNAs). In this study, we explored recent insights into metabolic interactions between the microbiota and tumor cells in CRC pathobiology, focusing on the role of miRNAs. These observations support our view that miRNAs may also serve as mediators of the metabolites' effects.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Dr. Mary Knatterud for assisting in article preparation. Because of space restrictions, we cannot cite many other significant contributions made by numerous researchers and laboratories in this potentially important and rapidly progressing field. S.S. is supported by research grants funded by the NIH R03CA219129 and C.Y. by the MnDrive—University of Minnesota Informatics Institute graduate fellowship.
- colorectal cancer
- high-throughput technologies
- host-microbiota interactions