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Getting off tract: contributions of intraorgan microbiota to cancer in extraintestinal organs
  1. Scott C Thomas1,
  2. George Miller2,
  3. Xin Li1,3,4,
  4. Deepak Saxena1,3,5
  1. 1 Department of Molecular Pathobiology, New York University College of Dentistry, New York, NY, USA
  2. 2 Cancer Center, Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck, NJ, USA
  3. 3 Perlmutter Cancer Institute, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, USA
  4. 4 Department of Urology, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
  5. 5 Department of Surgery, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Deepak Saxena, NYU, New York, NY 10012, USA; ds100{at}


The gastrointestinal ecosystem has received the most attention when examining the contributions of the human microbiome to health and disease. This concentration of effort is logical due to the overwhelming abundance of microbes in the gut coupled with the relative ease of sampling compared with other organs. However, the intestines are intimately connected to multiple extraintestinal organs, providing an opportunity for homeostatic microbial colonisation and pathogenesis in organs traditionally thought to be sterile or only transiently harbouring microbiota. These habitats are challenging to sample, and their low microbial biomass among large amounts of host tissue can make study challenging. Nevertheless, recent findings have shown that many extraintestinal organs that are intimately linked to the gut harbour stable microbiomes, which are colonised from the gut in selective manners and have highlighted not just the influence of the bacteriome but that of the mycobiome and virome on oncogenesis and health.


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  • Contributors SCT: literature review, compiled and wrote the manuscript. DS: concept, review, writing and editing. XL: review, editing and figure design. GM: review and editing.

  • Funding This work was supported by NIH grants CA206105 (DS), DOD W81XWH-19-1-4470605 (DS), DOD W81XWH-19-1-0603 (XL) and R41CA250892 (DS and XL).

  • Competing interests XL and DS are cofounders of Periomicscare.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.