The gut microbiota, bacterial metabolites and colorectal cancer

Petra Louis, Georgina L. Hold, Harry J. Flint* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

1913 Citations (Scopus)


Accumulating evidence suggests that the human intestinal microbiota contributes to the aetiology of colorectal cancer (CRC), not only via the pro-carcinogenic activities of specific pathogens but also via the influence of the wider microbial community, particularly its metabolome. Recent data have shown that the short-chain fatty acids acetate, propionate and butyrate function in the suppression of inflammation and cancer, whereas other microbial metabolites, such as secondary bile acids, promote carcinogenesis. In this Review, we discuss the relationship between diet, microbial metabolism and CRC and argue that the cumulative effects of microbial metabolites should be considered in order to better predict and prevent cancer progression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-672
Number of pages12
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number10
Early online date8 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

P.L. and H.F. acknowledge support from the Scottish Government Food Land and People programme. The authors thank A. Walker and R. Barker for critical reading of the manuscript.


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