Experimental evidence from the past years highlights a key role for the intestinal microbiota in inflammatory and malignant gastrointestinal diseases. Diet exhibits a strong impact on microbial composition and provides risk for developing colorectal carcinoma (CRC). Large metagenomic studies in human CRC associated microbiome signatures with the colorectal adenoma-carcinoma sequence, suggesting a fundamental role of the intestinal microbiota in the evolution of gastrointestinal malignancy. Basic science established a critical function for the intestinal microbiota in promoting tumorigenesis. Further studies are needed to decipher the mechanisms of tumor promotion and microbial co-evolution in CRC, which may be exploited therapeutically in the future.