• The human gut microbiome in disease: Role in chemotherapy treatments and relationship with clinical outcomes
  • D'Amico, Federica <1992>


  • CHIM/11 Chimica e biotecnologia delle fermentazioni


  • The gut microbiome (GM) is a plastic entity, capable of adapting in response to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. However, several circumstances can disrupt this homeostatic balance, forcing the GM to shift from a health-associated mutualistic configuration to a disease-associated profile. Nowadays, a new frontier of microbiome research is understanding the GM role in chemo-immunotherapies and clinical outcomes. Here, the role of the genotoxin‐producing pathogen Salmonella in colorectal carcinogenesis was characterized by in-vitro models. A synergistic effect of Salmonella and the CRC-associated mutation (APC gene) promoted a tumorigenic microenvironment by increasing cellular genomic instability. Subsequently, the GM involvement in anti-cancer therapies was investigated via next-generation sequencing in different patient cohorts. The GM trajectory during treatments was characterized for women with epithelial ovarian cancer and pediatric patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The results highlighted the loss of GM homeostasis, with diversity reduction, decrease in health-associated microorganisms and pathobiont bloom. Interestingly, a distinctive GM profile was identified in ovarian cancer patients with a poor response to chemotherapy compared to patients in remission. Moreover, maintenance of GM homeostasis through enteral feeding in pediatric HSCT patients highlighted a better prognosis, with reduced risk of clinical complications. In this context, the gut resistome – the pattern of GM antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) – was evaluated longitudinally in HSCT patients. The results showed new acquisitions and consolidation of ARGs already present in patients developing clinical complications. Antibiotic exposure was also evaluated in infants under low-dose antibiotic prophylaxis for vesico-ureteral reflux showing an impairment of the GM configuration with possible long-term health implications. Dramatic GM dysbiosis was finally observed in critically ill patients with COVID-19 (undergoing multiple drug therapies) and correlated with increased risk of bloodstream infection. All these findings pointed out the importance of maintaining GM homeostasis during chemotherapy treatments for improving patients’ clinical outcomes.


  • 2021-05-28


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



D'Amico, Federica (2021) The human gut microbiome in disease: Role in chemotherapy treatments and relationship with clinical outcomes, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze biotecnologiche, biocomputazionali, farmaceutiche e farmacologiche , 33 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9780.