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Cancers arise through the process of somatic evolution fueled by the inception of somatic mutations. We lack a complete understanding of the sources of these somatic mutations. Humans host a vast repertoire of microbes collectively known as the microbiota. The microbiota plays a role in altering the tumor microenvironment and proliferation. In addition, microbes have been shown to elicit DNA damage which provides the driver for somatic mutations. An understanding of microbiota-driven mutational mechanisms would contribute to a more complete understanding of the origins of the cancer genome. Here, we review the modes by which microbes stimulate DNA damage and the effect of these phenomena upon the cancer genomic architecture, specifically in the form of mutational spectra and mutational signatures.
Paul W O'Toole
Maurice Barrett,Collette K Hand,Fergus Shanahan,Thomas Murphy,Paul W O'Toole