Guido Kroemer, Jennifer L. McQuade, Miriam Merad, Fabrice André & Laurence Zitvogel
Bodywide ecological interventions on cancer
Historically, cancer research and therapy have focused on malignant cells and their tumor microenvironment. However, the vascular, lymphatic and nervous systems establish long-range communication between the tumor and the host. This communication is mediated by metabolites generated by the host or the gut microbiota, as well by systemic neuroendocrine, pro-inflammatory and immune circuitries-all of which dictate the trajectory of malignant disease through molecularly defined biological mechanisms. Moreover, aging, co-morbidities and co-medications have a major impact on the development, progression and therapeutic response of patients with cancer. In this Perspective, we advocate for a whole-body ‘ecological’ exploration of malignant disease. We surmise that accumulating knowledge on the intricate relationship between the host and the tumor will shape rational strategies for systemic, bodywide interventions that will eventually improve tumor control, as well as quality of life, in patients with cancer.