The arsenal against different types of cancers has increased impressively in the last decade. The detailed knowledge of the tumor microenvironment enables it to be manipulated in order to help the immune system fight against tumor cells by using specific checkpoint inhibitors, cell-based treatments, targeted antibodies, and immune stimulants. In fact, it is widely known that the first immunotherapeutic tools as immune stimulants for cancer treatment were bacteria and still are; specifically, the use of Mycobacterium bovis
bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) continues to be the treatment of choice for preventing cancer recurrence and progression in non-invasive bladder cancer. BCG and also other mycobacteria or their components are currently under study for the immunotherapeutic treatment of different malignancies. This review focuses on the preclinical and clinical assays using mycobacteria to treat non-urological cancers, providing a wide knowledge of the beneficial applications of these microorganisms to manipulate the tumor microenvironment aiming at tumor clearance.
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