Recent insights into the role of the microbiome in malignant and benign hematologic diseases

Bruno Fattizzo, Francesca Cavallaro, Francesco Folino, Wilma Barcellini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Growing evidence suggests the impact of microbiome alteration, named dysbiosis, on the development of neoplasms, infections, inflammatory diseases, and immuno-mediated disorders. Regarding hematologic diseases, most data regard hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). In this review, we systematically evaluate the studies concerning microbiome in malignant and benign hematologic disorders beyond HSCT. A permissive microbiota is associated to the development of hematologic malignancies (including acute leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma), as well as of iron deficiency anemia, autoimmune cytopenias, and aplastic anemia. This happens through various mechanisms; chronic inflammatory triggering, epithelial barrier alteration, antigen dissequestration, and molecular mimicry. Hematologic therapies (chemo and immunosuppression) may induce/worsen dysbiosis and favour disease progression and infectious complications. Antibiotics may also induce dysbiosis with possible long-term consequences. Finally, novel target therapies are likely to alter microbiome, inducing gut inflammation (i.e. small molecules such as tyrosine-kinase-inhibitors) or enhancing host's immune system (as observed with CAR-T cells and checkpoint inhibitors).

Original languageEnglish
Article number103289
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Aplastic anemia
  • Autoimmune cytopenias
  • Dysbiosis
  • Hematologic disease
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Microbiome
  • Myeloma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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