Can antibiotics compromise cancer treatment? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Your gut flora, or microbiota, normally helps keep you healthy. When you take an antibiotic it disrupts the flora. Now a new study shows that some types of antibiotics are associated with a poorer response to cancer therapies called immune checkpoint inhibitors. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Nelson: What this is an attempt to look at adults older than 65. They looked at those who got antibiotics, presumably that will change this flora structure, they had about 2700 folks who had cancer, got immune checkpoint inhibitors, about 59% of them got antibiotics within a year, 19% got them within the previous two months. What they saw if you got antibiotics you did worse overall survival. It was particularly evident for one kind of class of antibiotics called fluroquinolones.  :33

Nelson says many efforts are underway to replenish the gut flora after antibiotic therapy. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.