Original Research| Volume 183, P152-161, April 2023

Intratumoral microbiome is driven by metastatic site and associated with immune histopathological parameters: An ancillary study of the SHIVA clinical trial

Published:February 07, 2023DOI:


      • The composition of microbiota in metastases is tissue-rather than tumor-driven.
      • PD-L1 and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes are associated with microbiome diversity.
      • This ancillary study supports the cancer-microbiome-immune axis hypothesis.



      Data on the role of the microbiota in cancer have accumulated in recent years, with particular interest in intratumoral bacteria. Previous results have shown that the composition of intratumoral microbiome is different depending on the type of primary tumour and that bacteria from the primary tumour could migrate to metastatic sites.


      Seventy-nine patients with breast, lung, or colorectal cancer and available biopsy samples from lymph node, lung, or liver site, treated in the SHIVA01 trial were analysed. We performed bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing on these samples to characterise the intratumoral microbiome. We assessed the association between microbiome composition, clinicopathological characteristics, and outcomes.


      Microbial richness (Chao1 index), evenness (Shannon index) and beta-diversity (Bray Curtis distance) were associated with biopsy site (p = 0.0001, p = 0.03 and p < 0.0001, respectively) but not with primary tumour type (p = 0.52, p = 0.54 and p = 0.82, respectively). Furthermore, microbial richness was inversely associated with tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs, p = 0.02), and PD-L1 expression on immune cells (p = 0.03), or assessed by Tumor Proportion Score (TPS, p = 0.02) or Combined Positive Score (CPS, p = 0.04). Beta-diversity was also associated with these parameters (p < 0.05). Patients with lower intratumoral microbiome richness had shorter overall survival (p = 0.03) and progression-free survival (p = 0.02) in multivariate analysis.


      Biopsy site, rather than primary tumour type, was strongly associated with microbiome diversity. Immune histopathological parameters such as PD-L1 expression and TILs were significantly associated with alpha and beta-diversity supporting the cancer-microbiome-immune axis hypothesis.


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