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The lung microbiota: role in maintaining pulmonary immune homeostasis and its implications in cancer development and therapy

Authors
  • Sommariva, Michele1
  • Le Noci, Valentino1
  • Bianchi, Francesca2
  • Camelliti, Simone1
  • Balsari, Andrea1, 2
  • Tagliabue, Elda2
  • Sfondrini, Lucia1
  • 1 Università Degli Studi Di Milano,
  • 2 Istituto Nazionale Dei Tumori,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jan 23, 2020
Volume
77
Issue
14
Pages
2739–2749
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00018-020-03452-8
PMID: 31974656
PMCID: PMC7326824
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Like other body districts, lungs present a complex bacteria community. An emerging function of lung microbiota is to promote and maintain a state of immune tolerance, to prevent uncontrolled and not desirable inflammatory response caused by inhalation of harmless environmental stimuli. This effect is mediated by a continuous dialog between commensal bacteria and immune cells resident in lungs, which express a repertoire of sensors able to detect microorganisms. The same receptors are also involved in the recognition of pathogens and in mounting a proper immune response. Due to its important role in preserving lung homeostasis, the lung microbiota can be also considered a mirror of lung health status. Indeed, several studies indicate that lung bacterial composition drastically changes during the occurrence of pulmonary pathologies, such as lung cancer, and the available data suggest that the modifications of lung microbiota can be part of the etiology of tumors in lungs and can influence their progression and response to therapy. These results provide the scientific rationale to analyze lung microbiota composition as biomarker for lung cancer and to consider lung microbiota a new potential target for therapeutic intervention to reprogram the antitumor immune microenvironment. In the present review, we discussed about the role of lung microbiota in lung physiology and summarized the most relevant data about the relationship between lung microbiota and cancer.

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