Human gut microbiota play an essential role in both healthy and diseased states of humans. In the past decade, the interactions between microorganisms and tumors have attracted much attention in the efforts to understand various features of the complex microbial communities, as well as the possible mechanisms through which the microbiota are involved in cancer prevention, carcinogenesis, and anti-cancer therapy. A large number of studies have indicated that microbial dysbiosis contributes to cancer susceptibility via multiple pathways. Further studies have suggested that the microbiota and their associated metabolites are not only closely related to carcinogenesis by inducing inflammation and immune dysregulation, which lead to genetic instability, but also interfere with the pharmacodynamics of anticancer agents. In this article, we mainly reviewed the influence of gut microbiota on cancers in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (including esophageal, gastric, colorectal, liver, and pancreatic cancers) and the regulation of microbiota by diet, prebiotics, probiotics, synbiotics, antibiotics, or the Traditional Chinese Medicine. We also proposed some new strategies in the prevention and treatment of GI cancers that could be explored in the future. We hope that this review could provide a comprehensive overview of the studies on the interactions between the gut microbiota and GI cancers, which are likely to yield translational opportunities to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality by improving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Copyright © 2018 Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Genetics Society of China. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.