THaving a healthy gut may be one of the most important success factors for cancer treatments, according to a study that found a link between the quality of the gut microbiome and response to immunotherapy against melanoma, a highly aggressive type of skin cancer.
According to the study, published Monday in Nature Medicine, “understanding the properties of the microbiome may allow clinicians to alter a patient’s microbiome before starting treatment.”
The researchers collected large numbers of individuals diagnosed with melanoma and gut microbiome samples from five clinical centers in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Spain. The presence of three types of bacteria in the intestine – Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum, Roseburia spp. and Akkermansia muciniphila – it was associated with a better immune response.
The range of microorganisms that live in the gut can be altered with simple changes to the diet, with the intake of probiotics, for example. This change, in turn, alters the action of the microbiome on the immune system.
This study also showed that the microbiome itself is strongly influenced by factors such as the patient’s diet, physical composition and use of drugs that inhibit the H+/K+-ATPase enzyme in the stomach.
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