Scientific Article

Gut OncoMicrobiome Signatures (GOMS) as next-generation biomarkers for cancer immunotherapy


Oncogenesis is associated with intestinal dysbiosis, and stool shotgun metagenomic sequencing in individuals with this condition might constitute a non-invasive approach for the early diagnosis of several cancer types. The prognostic relevance of antibiotic intake and gut microbiota composition urged investigators to develop tools for the detection of intestinal dysbiosis to enable patient stratification and microbiota-centred clinical interventions. Moreover, since the advent of immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in oncology, the identification of biomarkers for predicting their efficacy before starting treatment has been an unmet medical need. Many previous studies addressing this question, including a meta-analysis described herein, have led to the description of Gut OncoMicrobiome Signatures (GOMS). In this Review, we discuss how patients with cancer across various subtypes share several GOMS with individuals with seemingly unrelated chronic inflammatory disorders who, in turn, tend to have GOMS different from those of healthy individuals. We discuss findings from the aforementioned meta-analysis of GOMS patterns associated with clinical benefit from or resistance to ICIs across different cancer types (in 808 patients), with a focus on metabolic and immunological surrogate markers of intestinal dysbiosis, and propose practical guidelines to incorporate GOMS in decision-making for prospective clinical trials in immuno-oncology.

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