Williams Cancer Institute

Akkermansia muciniphila

The human gut microbiome is composed of 1013 micro-organisms; it modulates many host processes, including metabolism, inflammatory response, peristalsis, maturation of immune functions, and maintenance of intestinal epithelial barrier. The relation between cancer and microbes is not well known; microbes present in different types of mucous can be part of the tumor microenvironment and affect cancer’s growth and dissemination.

Akkermansia muciniphila is a typical member of the human gut microbiome; it potentiates anti-tumor efficacy with chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Food supplementation with Akkermansia muciniphila is safe and reduces insulin resistance and dyslipidemia.

Recently Akkermansia muciniphila has been shown to influence the effectiveness of Immune Checkpoints Inhibitors and has been associated with clinical benefits in people with certain cancers who were treated with immune checkpoints inhibitors immunotherapy; an immunomodulatory perspective affected patients colonized with Akkermansia muciniphila had a more robust CD4+ T helper cell activation which is helpful to maintain an immune response against cancer.

Studies published by Nature Medicine show that in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, the abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila could help predict the survival of these patients and be a potential biomarker to identify who is more likely to respond to immunotherapy.

The exact mechanism of Akkermansia muciniphila modulating anti-tumor response is still being investigated. Still, studies have sustained that the presence of Akkermansia muciniphila is a modifier in the treatment with Immune checkpoint inhibitors immunotherapy and is yet to be validated as a new prognosis factor.

Reference: Depommier, C. a.-S. (2019). Supplementation with Akkermansia muciniphila in overweight and obese human volunteers: a proof-of-concept exploratory study. Nature medicine, 1096-1103.

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