Fusobacterium nucleatum and oral cancer : a critical review

Emily McIlvanna, Gerard J Linden, Stephanie G Craig, Fionnuala T Lundy, Jacqueline A James

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There is a growing level of interest in the potential role inflammation has on the initiation and progression of malignancy. Notable examples include Helicobacter pylori-mediated inflammation in gastric cancer and more recently Fusobacterium nucleatum-mediated inflammation in colorectal cancer. Fusobacterium nucleatum is a Gram-negative anaerobic bacterium that was first isolated from the oral cavity and identified as a periodontal pathogen. Biofilms on oral squamous cell carcinomas are enriched with anaerobic periodontal pathogens, including F. nucleatum, which has prompted hypotheses that this bacterium could contribute to oral cancer development. Recent studies have demonstrated that F. nucleatum can promote cancer by several mechanisms; activation of cell proliferation, promotion of cellular invasion, induction of chronic inflammation and immune evasion. This review provides an update on the association between F. nucleatum and oral carcinogenesis, and provides insights into the possible mechanisms underlying it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2021

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© 2021. The Author(s).


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