Targeting gut microbial biofilms—a key to hinder colon carcinogenesis?

Siang Siang Chew, Loh Teng Hern Tan, Jodi Woan Fei Law, Priyia Pusparajah, Bey Hing Goh, Nurul Syakima Ab Mutalib, Learn Han Lee

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a global public health issue which poses a substantial humanistic and economic burden on patients, healthcare systems and society. In recent years, intestinal dysbiosis has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of CRC, with specific pathogens exhibiting oncogenic potentials such as Fusobacterium nucleatum, Escherichia coli and enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis having been found to contribute to CRC development. More recently, it has been shown that initiation of CRC development by these microorganisms requires the formation of biofilms. Gut microbial biofilm forms in the inner colonic mucus layer and is composed of polymicrobial communities. Biofilm results in the redistribution of colonic epithelial cell E-cadherin, increases permeability of the gut and causes a loss of function of the intestinal barrier, all of which enhance intestinal dysbiosis. This literature review aims to compile the various strategies that target these pathogenic biofilms and could potentially play a role in the prevention of CRC. We explore the potential use of natural products, silver nanoparticles, upconverting nanoparticles, thiosalicylate complexes, anti-rheumatic agent (Auranofin), probiotics and quorum-sensing inhibitors as strategies to hinder colon carcinogenesis via targeting colon-associated biofilms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2272
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemoprevention
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Gut biofilm
  • Microbiota
  • Quorum-sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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