Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers and leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. In recent years, there has been a growing realisation that lifestyle plays a major role for CRC development and that intestinal microbiota, which are shaped by lifestyle and nutrition habits, may be critically involved in the pathogenesis of CRC. Although the precise mechanisms for how the microbiota contribute to CRC development and progression remain elusive, increasing evidence suggests a direct causative role for the intestinal microbiota in modulating signalling pathways, anti-tumour immune responses and cell proliferation. Recent advances in understanding host-microbe interactions have shed light onto the putative use of intestinal microbiota as a powerful tool in CRC diagnosis and therapy. Here, we will discuss the role of the intestinal microbiota in CRC pathogenesis, their potential utility as diagnostic markers, and consider how microbes could be used in therapeutic approaches for the treatment of CRC.