By 2040, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is projected to become the second most fatal kind of cancer in humans, and the majority of patients with PDAC will not respond to chemotherapy according to existing treatment protocols. Scientists have identified diet as an environmental element that impacts patients' response to therapy. Nevertheless, its function in the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma remains unclear.

In a recent study published in the international journal Nature titled "Microbiota-derived 3-IAA influences chemotherapy efficacy in pancreatic cancer," scientists from the University Medical Center Hamburg and other institutions identified pathways by which gut flora positively influences cancer therapies. In the article, the researchers analyzed the impact of gut microbes on the therapeutic effects of chemotherapy on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Previous findings have shown that chemotherapy can sometimes be effective in treating pancreatic cancer that has metastasized, but sometimes it has no effect, and that this difference may be related to the body's resistance to diet, although the source of this is unknown to researchers. In this study, the researchers analyzed the possibility that specific microorganisms in the gut microbiome play a key role, first they analyzed samples from the gut microbiome of pancreatic cancer patients and found some differences between those who responded to the therapy and those who did not, and they also found that mice receiving sterile gut samples from the biome of mice that responded to chemotherapy mice also respond well to chemotherapy.

To better understand the crucial role that the gut microbiome plays in the efficacy of chemotherapy, the researchers collected blood samples from patients who responded to chemotherapy and those who did not, and discovered that the level of a molecule called 3-IAA was also relatively high in patients who responded better. After discovering that this chemical was created by two kinds of gut flora, the researchers attempted to introduce 3-IAA directly. The researchers next tried adding 3-IAA directly to the meal consumed by a mouse cancer model and discovered that the mice were more receptive to treatment. The researchers discovered that 3-IAA is generated in the colon when tryptophan, a molecule present in many meals, is consumed with amino acids, and later examination of cancer mice models suggested that increasing the amount of food containing this molecule might aid chemotherapy treatment.

Researchers investigating why high levels of the chemical 3-IAA improve the efficacy of chemotherapy discovered that the presence of the molecule helps control neutrophils. Overall, bacteria in the gut may be able to combat cancer by sending signals to distant tumors through the blood, where they may increase the production of chemotherapeutic chemicals by enhancing the immune system's ability to operate and so continue to combat the growth of cancer.

In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that researchers have identified a metabolite derived from a microbial community that may have clinical application in the treatment of human pancreatic bile duct adenocarcinoma, which may inspire scientists to consider nutritional intervention strategies in the treatment of cancer patients.


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