Journal of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Medical Science) ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (7): 939-944.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-8115.2022.07.014

• Review • Previous Articles    

Role of gut microbiota in hepatocellular carcinoma: cancer occurrence, progresses and treatments

LU Yu(), WANG Hao, BA Qian()   

  1. School of Public Health, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200025, China
  • Received:2022-03-02 Accepted:2022-06-14 Online:2022-07-26 Published:2022-07-26
  • Contact: BA Qian;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(81973078)


The gut microbiota, as one of the microfloras existing in human body, is accounted for approximately 80% in human microbiome. Gut microbiota regulates digestive and immune functions through participating in physiological processes such as metabolism and immune homeostasis, meanwhile impacts the occurrence of cancer and controls the body response to cancer treatment drugs. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a typical type of inflammatory cancer, the development of which follows the process of hepatitis, liver fibrosis, liver cirrhosis and HCC. The bidirectional communication system composed of gut microbiota, portal vein system and bile duct system, is usually called the enteric-liver axis. More and more research evidences show that gut microbiota can participate in the occurrence and development of HCC via the interaction cycle with the enteric-liver axis. In view of the specific transformation of gut microbiota in the early stage of HCC, it is usually regarded as a new target for the early diagnosis of HCC. Immunotherapy is an emerging treatment for advanced HCC. It is reported that regulating gut microbiota through probiotics, rational application of antibiotics, fecal transplantation and other methods can significantly improve the anti-tumor immune response of host. In the non-immunotherapy process of HCC chemotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine-assisted therapy and dietary pattern, remodeling gut microbiota homeostasis has potential value in postponing tumor progression, improving the prognosis of HCC treatment and maintaining body health. Since gut microbiota plays a crucial role in the occurrence, development and treatment of HCC, this review summarizes the studies of gut microbiota in the process of hepatitis, liver fibrosis, cirrhosis and HCC, and discusses its great potential as a target for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HCC.

Key words: gut microbiota, hepatocellular carcinoma, immunotherapy

CLC Number: