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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 81-82

Role of probiotics in colorectal cancer

Department of Periodontology and Oral Implantology, Rural Dental College-Loni, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication11-Mar-2011

Correspondence Address:
Rajiv Saini
Department of Periodontology and Oral Implantology, Rural Dental College-Loni, Tehsil-Rahata, District-Ahmednagar, Maharashtra - 413 736
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2231-0738.77538

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How to cite this article:
Saini R. Role of probiotics in colorectal cancer. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2011;1:81-2

How to cite this URL:
Saini R. Role of probiotics in colorectal cancer. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2011 [cited 2023 Feb 1];1:81-2. Available from:


The World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have defined probiotics as "live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host." They are also called "friendly bacteria" or "good bacteria." [1],[2] Risk factors for colon cancer consist of both hereditary and environmental factors. Dietary patterns represent controllable risk factors for the development of colon cancer. Much concentration has focused on declining the threat of colon cancer through growing intake of dietary fiber; recently, this has incorporated understanding in the use of prebiotics and probiotics. The enormous numbers and diversity of the human gut microflora is reflected in a large and varied metabolic capacity, particularly in relation to xenobiotic biotransformation, carcinogen synthesis and activation. Modification of the gut microflora may interfere with the process of carcinogenesis, and this opens up the possibility for dietary modification of colon cancer risk. Probiotics and prebiotics, which modify the microflora by increasing the numbers of lactobacilli and/or bifidobacteria in the colon, have been a particular focus of attention in this regard. [3] Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most prevalent form of cancer in men and women, [4] with a 5-year survival rate of 63%, decreasing to 10% in patients diagnosed with metastatic disease. [4] CRC is a multifactorial disease, and the major risk factors for CRC are alcohol, type 2 diabetes, high-cholesterol diet, smoking, polyps, obesity, genetics, inflammatory bowel disease, sedentary life style and occupational environment, etc. More than 80% of the colorectal neoplasms occur sporadically, arising from adenomatous polyps via the long-term accumulation of mutations in genes, including APC, K-ras and TP53.2 Current treatment options for CRC include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, all of which can significantly reduce the quality of life. [5] The mechanisms by which probiotics may inhibit colon cancer are not yet fully characterized; however, there is evidence for a reduction in the inflammatory response to host flora, alterations in the metabolic activities of intestinal bacteria, a reduction in the numbers of bacteria involved in pro-carcinogenic and mutagenic pathways and the production of anti-tumorigenic and mutagenic substances. The evidence from humans is less compelling, but nevertheless is suggestive of a cancer-preventing effect of fermented foods. Clearly, what is now needed is carefully controlled intervention studies in human subjects using biomarkers of cancer risk. [3] The use of probiotics and prebiotics has important implications in the field of CRC, as their consumption may be beneficial in inhibiting or preventing the onset of cancer, and also in the treatment of existing tumors. Further research is required to identify which probiotic, prebiotic or synbiotic will be most efficacious. [5] Studies in in vitro systems and in a wide range of animal models provide considerable evidence that probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics exert anti-neoplastic effects. Their consumption may be beneficial in preventing the onset of cancer and also in the treatment of existing tumors. New options are given through the genetic manipulation of probiotics, designed to act as a delivery system for anti-neoplastic factors in the colon.[6] Further research in this area may offer exhilarating avenues in cancer care strategies.

   References Top

1.Parvez S, Malik KA, Kang S, Kim HY. Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. J Appl Microbiol 2006;100:1171-85.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Saini R, Saini S, Sugandha. Probiotics: The health boosters. J Cut Aesthet Surg 2009;2:112.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Burns AJ, Rowland IR. Anti-carcinogenicity of probiotics and prebiotics. Curr Issues Intest Microbiol 2000;1:13-24.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Goldberg RM. Advances in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. Oncologist 2005;10:40-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Geier MS, Butler RN, Howarth GS. Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics: A role in chemoprevention for colorectal cancer. Cancer Biol Ther 2006;5:1265-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Fotiadis CI, Stoidis CN, Spyropoulos BG, Zografos ED. Role of probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics in chemoprevention for colorectal cancer. World J Gastroenterol 2008;14:6453-7.  Back to cited text no. 6


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