Virome and bacteriome: two sides of the same coin

Jonathan Stern, George Miller, Xin Li, Deepak Saxena

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Although bacterial dysbiosis has been previously associated with carcinogenesis and HIV infection, the impact of the virome and these disease states has been less well studied. In this review, we will summarize what is known about the interplay between both the bacterial and the viral components of the microbiome on cancer and HIV pathogenesis. Bacterial dysbiosis has been associated with carcinogenesis such as colorectal cancer (CRC), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), lung cancer, breast cancer, and gastric cancer. The dysbiotic pathogenesis may be species-based or community-based and can have varying mechanisms of carcinogenesis. The human virome was also associated with certain cancers. Viruses, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), human papilloma virus (HPV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), all had associations with cancers. It was also reported that an altered bacteriophage community may lead to carcinogenesis by allowing opportunistic, oncogenic bacteria to proliferate in a gastrointestinal biofilm. This mechanism shows the importance of analyzing the bacteriome and the virome concurrently as their interactions can provide insight into new mechanisms in the pathogenesis of not only cancer, but other diseases as well. The enteric bacteriome was shown to be distinctly altered in immunocompromised HIV-infected individuals, and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) was shown to at least partially reverse the alterations that HIV causes in the bacteriome. Studies have shown that the progression to HIV is associated with changes in the plasma concentration of commensal viruses. HIV also acts synergistically with multiple other viruses, such as HPV, EBV, varicella zoster virus (VZV), and HHV-8. Although it has been shown that HIV infection leads to enteric virome expansion in humans, most of the research on HIV's effect on the virome was conducted in non-human primates, and there is a lack of research on the effect of HAART on the virome. Virome-wide analysis is necessary for identifying novel viral etiologies. There is currently a wealth of information on the bacteriome and its associations with cancer and HIV, but more research should be conducted on the virome's associations and reaction to HAART as well as the bacteriome-virome interactions that may play a major role in pathogenesis and recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Virology
StatePublished - Aug 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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