Cancer's link with bacteria has been thoroughly studied, but recent evidence brings to light a less discussed yet potent player in cancer pathogenesis: fungi. Various fungi species have been associated with the advancement and metastasis of cancer, while certain fungal toxins can adversely affect DNA and cellular components, thereby heightening the cancer risk. Even the immune response to fungal infections isn't exempt from suspicion as it might promote inflammation, leading to cellular damage and mutation. Despite the compelling evidence, the precise interaction between fungi and cancer remains enigmatic, emphasizing the need for additional research. Bibliometric analysis, by evaluating research trends and knowledge gaps, proves instrumental in shedding light on the puzzling fungi-cancer relationship. It is our hope that this exploration will inform future cancer prevention and treatment strategies.
This blog is based on a summary of the following paper:
The research tool of choice was the Web of Science Core Collection (WOSCC), allowing us to investigate fungi-cancer literature from 1998 to 2022. Only English-language research articles within this timeline were considered, excluding non-English or non-research articles. The search strategy incorporated various keywords related to fungi and cancer and the entire search results, including complete records and cited references, were saved in a plain text file format.
The study comprises 8,283 English language articles relevant to the fungi-cancer relationship. A bibliometric evaluation reveals an upsurge in such publications, rising from 101 in 1998 to 796 in 2022. Specifically, from 2007 onwards, annual publications exceeded 200, signifying accelerated growth in this domain. Particularly, the past five years accounted for 38.56% of total publications, with 3,194 papers published.
An analysis of keyword co-occurrence in the examined literature reflects a focus on fungi-cancer relationships, specifically concerning cytotoxicity, apoptosis, and fungal metabolites. Recent trends indicate an emerging interest in fungal metabolites' anticancer potential. Despite their promise, the approval of fungal-derived anticancer drugs has been hampered by inadequate understanding of their complex action mechanisms and biosynthetic pathways.
Additionally, the analysis exposes the significance of citation bursts as markers of emerging research trends. Topics such as "tumor necrosis factor," "mycotoxins," and "fusarium moniliforme" experienced significant citation surges, suggesting their research prominence. More recently, terms like "green synthesis," "molecular docking," "anticancer activity," "antibacterial," and "silver nanoparticles" have gained traction, reflecting interest in novel anticancer and antibacterial agents derived from fungi and the potential role of silver nanoparticles in cancer treatment.
The bibliometric analysis covering the period from 1998 to 2022 offers a comprehensive overview of fungi and cancer interaction research. Emerging trends point to the development of innovative anticancer and antibacterial agents derived from fungi. The potential of fungal metabolites and nanoparticles as future cancer therapies is particularly noteworthy.
Despite these promising findings, more research is needed to fully grasp the safety, efficacy, and mechanisms of action of these potential therapies. This study underlines the potential of fungal research to transform the landscape of cancer treatment and prevention, signifying exciting future directions in this field.
Xu J, Zeng Y, Yu C, Xu S, Tang L, Zeng X, Huang Y, Sun Z, Xu B, Yu T. Visualization of the relationship between fungi and cancer from the perspective of bibliometric analysis. Heliyon. 2023 Jul 21;9(8):e18592. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e18592. PMID: 37529342; PMCID: PMC10388209.