BACKGROUND: The role of esophageal microbiota in esophageal cancer treatment is gaining renewed interest, largely driven by novel DNA-based microbiota analysis techniques. The aim of this systematic review is to provide an overview of current literature on the possible association between esophageal microbiota and outcome of esophageal cancer treatment, including tumor response to (neo)adjuvant chemo(radio)therapy, short-term surgery-related complications, and long-term oncological outcome. METHODS: A systematic review of literature was performed, bibliographic databases were searched and relevant articles were selected by two independent researchers. The Newcastle-Ottawa scale was used to estimate the quality of included studies. RESULTS: The search yielded 1303 articles, after selection and cross-referencing, five articles were included for qualitative synthesis and four studies were considered of good quality. Two articles addressed tumor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and described a correlation between high intratumoral Fusobacterium nucleatum levels and a poor response. One study assessed surgery-related complications, in which no direct association between esophageal microbiota and occurrence of complications was observed. Three studies described a correlation between shortened survival and high levels of intratumoral F. nucleatum, a low abundance of Proteobacteria and high abundances of Prevotella and Streptococcus species. CONCLUSIONS: Current evidence points towards an association between esophageal microbiota and outcome of esophageal cancer treatment and justifies further research. Whether screening of the individual esophageal microbiota can be used to identify and select patients with a predisposition for adverse outcome needs to be further investigated. This could lead to the development of microbiota-based interventions to optimize esophageal microbiota composition, thereby improving outcome of patients with esophageal cancer.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number8
Early online date11 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2022

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