Common chemo drug cyclophosphamide improved by gut bacteria

Common chemo drug cyclophosphamide improved by gut bacteria

Yet again, probiotics and the bacteria in your gut have been shown to make oncology drugs work better.

Cyclophosphamide, a chemotherapy drug known to thousands of women with breast cancer as a part of their FEC or FEC-T treatment programme, and to advanced ovarian and lung cancer patients, has been shown to actually rely on gut bacteria to deliver a good result according to a study published in Immunity (Volume 45, Issue 4, p931–943, 18 October 2016).

Previous studies had already suggested this need, but here researchers showed that at least two commensal bacteria strains Enterococcus hirae and Barnesiella intestinihominis were active during treatment with the drug.

Go To: Gut bacteria increase immune response with drugs

The E. hirae actually moved from the small intestine to secondary lymphoid organs and increased the intratumoral response (the CD8/Treg ratio).

B. intestinihominis accumulates in the colon and promotes the infiltration of IFN-γ-producing γδT cells in cancer lesions.

Apart from this biochemical activity, there was a much greater immune response with the activity of these two bacteria and also a longer progression-free survival time when they were actively involved, particularly in advanced lung and ovarian cancer patients treated with chemo-immunotherapy.

Chris Woollams, founder of CANCERactive and former-Oxford University Biochemist said, “Actually, this result is quite worrying. These old drugs – cyclophosphamide is an alkylating drug first approved in 1959 – are widely used, yet clearly the approving authorities had no clear or full idea on how they worked. Secondly, these same drugs, or the drugs they are simultaneously used with, severely damage the gut microbiome making their efficacy worse. We have seen exactly that with the new immunotherapies too. Patients have been subjected to almost 60 years of blind hope. Still today, patients are routinely told by their oncologist not to take probiotics with their drugs, when the opposite is increasingly being shown to be true. What a mess”. 

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2016 Research
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