A2: Microbes in the News — How gut bacteria change cancer drug activity


How gut bacteria change cancer drug activity (April 21, 2017)

Source: Medical xpress



University College London (UCL) did a study using  Caenorhabditis elegans has a model organism to study the effect of genetics, diet and chemical make up of the gut effect the cancer drug  fluoropyrimidines. Fluoropyrimidines is a colorectal cancer drug that kills cancer cells by preventing DNA replication. They used the  Caenorhabditis elegans worm because their digestive tract can be a model of human digestive tract. They screened total of 55,000 different conditions and found that certain bacteria in the gut can improve the effectiveness of the drug by assisting in activating the drug as well as allow the body cells to uptake the drug more.


We’ve learned about the natural human flora and how they affect us. This shows an example of how bacteria can affect drugs that we take.

Critical Anaylsis:

Although the article was interesting and concise, they really did not go into details of the experiment. For example, what sort of conditions did they test exactly.


What conditions did the screen consider? What bacteria exactly? How did the bacteria improve drug intake (Molecular mechanism)?


1 Comment for “A2: Microbes in the News — How gut bacteria change cancer drug activity”



This is a very interesting article. Often drug therapies have a large variation in their outcomes in patients and the microbiome seems like a great place to look for factors that may be accounting for these differences. I agree with you that the article did not provide many details. After reading the topic I definitely wanted to know more about this and the article sis not really provide more information about mechanisms that could explain the impact that the microbiome has on differences in individual responses to drug treatments.
It looks like Fluoropyrimidine thymidylate synthase, which is important in DNA synthesis and repair. This would mean that cancer cells would not be able to grow as quickly.