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Journal Article

The Roles of the Virome in Cancer


Mölling,  Karin
Emeritus Group of Vertebrate Genomics (Head: Hans Lehrach), Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Broecker, F., & Mölling, K. (2021). The Roles of the Virome in Cancer. Microorganisms, 9(12): 2538. doi:10.3390/microorganisms9122538.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-E22E-5
Viral infections as well as changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiota and
virome have been linked to cancer. Moreover, the success of cancer immunotherapy with checkpoint
inhibitors has been correlated with the intestinal microbial composition of patients. The transfer of
feces—which contain mainly bacteria and their viruses (phages)—from immunotherapy responders
to non-responders, known as fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), has been shown to be able
to convert some non-responders to responders. Since phages may also increase the response to
immunotherapy, for example by inducing T cells cross-reacting with cancer antigens, modulating
phage populations may provide a new avenue to improve immunotherapy responsiveness. In this
review, we summarize the current knowledge on the human virome and its links to cancer, and discuss
the potential utility of bacteriophages in increasing the responder rate for cancer immunotherapy.