The role of the host microbiome has come to the forefront as a potential modulator of cancer metabolism and could be a future target for precision medicine. A recent study revealed that in colon cancer, bacteria form polysaccharide matrices called biofilms at a high frequency in the proximal colon. Comprehensive untargeted and stable isotope–assisted metabolomic analysis revealed that the bacteria utilize polyamine metabolites produced from colon adenomas/carcinomas to build these protective biofilms and may contribute to inflammation and proliferation observed in colon cancer. This study highlighted the importance of finding the biological origin of a metabolite and assessing its metabolism and mechanism of action. This led to a better understanding of host and microbial interactions, thereby aiding therapeutic design for cancer. In this review, we will discuss methodologies for identifying the biological origin and roles of metabolites in cancer progression and discuss the interactions of the microbiome and metabolites in immunity and cancer treatment, focusing on the flourishing field of cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Res; 76(21); 6146–52. ©2016 AACR.
- Received February 1, 2016.
- Revision received June 2, 2016.
- Accepted July 12, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.