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Journal of Cancer Prevention


J Cancer Prev 2022; 27(1): 16-21

Published online March 30, 2022

© Korean Society of Cancer Prevention

Role of Oral Microbiota in Carcinogenesis: A Short Review

Rakhi Issrani1,2 , Jagat Reddy2 , Tarek H. El-Metwally Dabah3 , Namdeo Prabhu4

1Department of Preventive Dentistry, College of Dentistry, Jouf University, Sakaka, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2Department of Oral Medicine & Radiology, Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, SBV University, Pondicherry, India, 3Medical Biochemistry Division, Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, Jouf University, 4Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, Jouf University, Sakaka, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Correspondence to :
Rakhi Issrani, E-mail:,

Received: September 9, 2021; Revised: December 8, 2021; Accepted: December 14, 2021

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A strong and healthy microbiome is responsible for homeostasis between the host and microbiota which is necessary to achieve the normal functioning of the body. Dysbiosis provokes prevalence of pathogenic microbes, leading to alterations in gene expression profiles and metabolic processes. This in turn results in anomalous immune responses of the host. Dysbiosis may be associated with a wide variety of diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, allergic conditions, bronchitis, asthma, heart diseases and oncogenesis. Presently, the links between oral microbial consortia and their functions, not only in the preservation of homeostasis but also pathogenesis of several malignancies have gained much awareness from the scientific community. The primary intent of this review is to highlight the dynamic role of oral microbiome in oncogenesis and its progression through various mechanisms. A literature search was conducted using multiple databases comprising of PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Cochrane electronic databases with keywords including microbiome, microbiota, carcinogenesis, tumorigenesis, and immunosuppression. Current and the past literature has pointed out the role of microorganisms in oncogenesis. It may be put forth that both the commensal and pathogenic strains of oral microbiome play an undeniably conspicuous role in carcinogenesis at different body sites.

Keywords: Carcinogenesis, Immunosuppression therapy, Microbiota, Mouth

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