Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.3390/ijms24043110; PMCID: PMC9958598


Bacterial infections are common in the etiology of human diseases owing to the ubiquity of bacteria. Such infections promote the development of periodontal disease, bacterial pneumonia, typhoid, acute gastroenteritis, and diarrhea in susceptible hosts. These diseases may be resolved using antibiotics/antimicrobial therapy in some hosts. However, other hosts may be unable to eliminate the bacteria, allowing them to persist for long durations and significantly increasing the carrier's risk of developing cancer over time. Indeed, infectious pathogens are modifiable cancer risk factors, and through this comprehensive review, we highlight the complex relationship between bacterial infections and the development of several cancer types. For this review, searches were performed on the PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases encompassing the entirety of 2022. Based on our investigation, we found several critical associations, of which some are causative: Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum are associated with periodontal disease, Salmonella spp., Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter spp., and Shigella are associated with gastroenteritis. Helicobacter pylori infection is implicated in the etiology of gastric cancer, and persistent Chlamydia infections present a risk factor for the development of cervical carcinoma, especially in patients with the human papillomavirus (HPV) coinfection. Salmonella typhi infections are linked with gallbladder cancer, and Chlamydia pneumoniae infection is implicated in lung cancer, etc. This knowledge helps identify the adaptation strategies used by bacteria to evade antibiotic/antimicrobial therapy. The article also sheds light on the role of antibiotics in cancer treatment, the consequences of their use, and strategies for limiting antibiotic resistance. Finally, the dual role of bacteria in cancer development as well as in cancer therapy is briefly discussed, as this is an area that may help to facilitate the development of novel microbe-based therapeutics as a means of securing improved outcomes.

Journal Title

Int J Mol Sci





MeSH Keywords

Humans; Helicobacter Infections; Helicobacter pylori; Bacterial Infections; Anti-Bacterial Agents; Gastroenteritis; Typhoid Fever; Anti-Infective Agents; Escherichia coli; Neoplasms; Carrier Proteins; Escherichia coli Proteins


adaptation; antibiotic resistance; antibiotics; bacterial infections; cancer; cancer patients; dormancy; dysbiosis; microbiome


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