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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 368736, 12 pages
Review Article

Harnessing the Microbiome to Enhance Cancer Immunotherapy

1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
2Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA

Received 8 April 2015; Accepted 10 May 2015

Academic Editor: Pedro Giavina-Bianchi

Copyright © 2015 Michelle H. Nelson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The microbiota plays a key role in regulating the innate and adaptive immune system. Herein, we review the immunological aspects of the microbiota in tumor immunity in mice and man, with a focus on toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists, vaccines, checkpoint modulators, chemotherapy, and adoptive T cell transfer (ACT) therapies. We propose innovative treatments that may safely harness the microbiota to enhance T cell-based therapies in cancer patients. Finally, we highlight recent developments in tumor immunotherapy, particularly novel ways to modulate the microbiome and memory T cell responses to human malignancies.