J Cancer 2020; 11(17):5135-5149. doi:10.7150/jca.47470

Review

Antibiotics for cancer treatment: A double-edged sword

Yuan Gao1,2, Qingyao Shang1,2, Wenyu Li1,2, Wenxuan Guo1, Alexander Stojadinovic3, Ciaran Mannion3,4, Yan-gao Man3✉, Tingtao Chen1✉

1. National Engineering Research Center for Bioengineering Drugs and the Technologies, Institute of Translational Medicine, Nanchang University, 1299 Xuefu Road, Honggu District, Nanchang, 330031 People's Republic of China.
2. Queen Mary School, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi 330031, PR China.
3. Department of Pathology, Hackensack University Medical Center, 30 Prospec Avenue, Hackensack, NJ 07601, USA.
4. Department of Pathology, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, 340 Kingsland Street, Nutley, NJ 07110, USA.

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Citation:
Gao Y, Shang Q, Li W, Guo W, Stojadinovic A, Mannion C, Man Yg, Chen T. Antibiotics for cancer treatment: A double-edged sword. J Cancer 2020; 11(17):5135-5149. doi:10.7150/jca.47470. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p5135.htm

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Abstract

Various antibiotics have been used in the treatment of cancers, via their anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic and anti-epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) capabilities. However, increasingly studies have indicated that antibiotics may also induce cancer generation by disrupting intestinal microbiota, which further promotes chronic inflammation, alters normal tissue metabolism, leads to genotoxicity and weakens the immune response to bacterial malnutrition, thereby adversely impacting cancer treatment. Despite the advent of high-throughput sequencing technology in recent years, the potential adverse effects of antibiotics on cancer treatments via causing microbial imbalance has been largely ignored. In this review, we discuss the double-edged sword of antibiotics in the field of cancer treatments, explore their potential mechanisms and provide solutions to reduce the potential negative effects of antibiotics.

Keywords: Antibiotics, Cancer, Intestinal microbiota disorder, Cancer therapy