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Table 1 Studies investigated interactions between the gut microbiome and radiotherapy effectiveness

From: Radiotherapy and the gut microbiome: facts and fiction


Study subjects


Bacterial identification

Key findings

Nam et al. [16]

9 patients with gynecological cancer and 6 healthy controls

Pelvic RT 50.4 Gy/ 25 fractions/5 weeks

16 s RNA

The numbers of species-level taxa were severely reduced and the abundance of each community largely changed after RT

Kim et al. [30]

Male 8–10-week-old C57BL/6 mice

A single 8 Gy dose using a Cobalt 60 source irradiator

16 s RNA

Irradiation increased the level of the genera Alistipes in the large intestine and increased the level of the genus Corynebacterium in the small intestine

Jang et al. [31]

45 patients with rectal cancer

Pelvic RT, 50.0–54.0 Gy/ 25–30 fractions

16 s RNA

Differences in microbial community composition and functions were observed between CR and non-CR patients. Bacteroidales were relatively more abundant in patients with non-CR than those with CR

Uribe-Herranz et al. [34]

A melanoma model, a HPV E6/7-expressing lung and cervical cancer model in tumor-bearing mice

21 Gy using an XRAD320iX

16 s RNA

Gut microbiota can be modulated to improve RT-mediated antitumor responses. Vancomycin pretreatment enhanced the antitumor effects of RT in tumor-bearing mice

Cui et al. [36]

C57BL/6 mice

Total body irradiation exposure of 5 Gy

16 s RNA

Circadian rhythm is a key modulator in maintaining intestinal microflora balance. Mtnr1a and Mtnr1b might be involved in the circadian rhythm-shaped gut bacterial community

Crawford et al. [43]


Mark I 137Cs irradiator (106 cGy/min for a total dose of 10–22 Gy)


Fiaf deficiency results in loss of resistance of villus endothelial and lymphocyte populations to radiation-induced apoptosis

  1. CR complete response, RT radiotherapy