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Gut Microbiome Play a Role in the Treatment Outcomes for Cancer, Study Suggests

Jan, 2021

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According to a new collaborative study initiated by the researchers of Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University have reported about how the gut microbiome influences cancer patients respond to oral therapies, indicating bacteria to play a major role in the treatment outcomes. Moreover, researchers have highlighted how the drug abiraterone acetate is processed by bacteria in the gut to reduce harmful organisms while stimulating those that fight cancer.

Brendan Daisley from Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry stated, “Research is beginning to uncover the ways in which the human microbiome influences cancer development, progression and treatment. Our study highlights a key interaction between a cancer drug and the gut microbiome that results in beneficial organisms with anti-cancer properties.”

Moreover, researchers also informed that traditional prostate cancer therapies are designed to remove androgens, group of hormones that are accountable for prostate cancer growth. However, traditional androgen deprivation therapies are not always effective, hence alternative therapies are explored and developed. Abiraterone acetate is the alternate and highly effective therapy that are utilized in the treatment of prostate cancer by reducing androgens in the body through a different mechanism.  In addition, unlike traditional therapies, abiraterone acetate is taken orally, which further contacts with billions of microorganisms in the intestinal tract.

In this study, researchers included 68 prostate cancer patients, where some patients were treated with abiraterone acetate and some with traditional androgen deprivation therapies. Research team further collected and analyzed stool samples of these patients. Researchers observed that intake of abiraterone acetate altered the gut microbiome of the patients and increased the bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila. The increase in Akkermansia muciniphila further augmented the production of vitamin K2 aids in inhibiting tumour growth. Researchers concluded that the findings suggests that gut microbiome play a key role in treatment response.

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