The application of probiotics in cancer.

de Moreno de LeBlanc A, Matar C, Perdigón G.
Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos (CERELA-CONICET), Chacabuco 145, Tucumán, (T4000ILC) Argentina.

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are present in many foods such as yoghurt and are frequently used as probiotics to favour some biological functions in the host. Many investigators have evaluated the therapeutic effects of yoghurt and LAB commonly used in yoghurt production against diseases such as cancer, infection, and gastrointestinal disorders. The increase of immune cell activity in the prevention of cancer by LAB consumption has also been described.

Another possible explanation for the preventive effect of probiotics on carcinogenesis is their effect on other bacteria in the intestine. Probiotics may suppress the growth of bacteria that convert procarcinogens into carcinogens, thereby reducing the amount of carcinogens in the intestine.

The present review is focused on two types of cancer in which milk fermented by LAB may show a beneficial effect: colon cancer and breast cancer.

Priobiotic yogurt to relieve nausea and gut problems during chemo

The role of dairy foods and probiotic bacteria in cancer prevention: recent evidences.

Finally, studies are outlined that show probiotic bacteria and prebiotics suppress tumour development in animals, and epidemiological studies that show consumption of fermented milk products may help reduce the risk of cancer at a number of sites.

Antitumour activity is one of the health-promoting effects attributed to the lactic acid bacteria and their products of fermentation. Previous studies in mice demonstrated that bioactive compounds released in milk fermented by Lactobacillus helveticus R389 contribute to its immunoenhancing and antitumour properties. The aim of the present work was to study the effects of the consumption of milk fermented by L. helveticus R389 or its proteolytic-deficient variant, L. helveticus L89, on a murine hormone-dependent breast cancer model.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that 7 days of cyclical administration of milk fermented by both strains of L. helveticus diminishes tumour growth, stimulating an antitumour immune response.

Immunobiology: Effects of milk fermented by Lactobacillus helveticus R389 on immune cells associated to mammary glands in normal and a breast cancer model:

Antitumour activity is an effect attributed to probiotics and fermented foods. Here, the immune cells in mammary glands and cytokine concentration in serum were analyzed using mice fed with milk fermented by Lactobacillus helveticus R389 or L89 (proteolytic-deficient variant), injected or not with breast tumour cells. Mice were fed 7 days with fermented milk, injected with breast tumour cells and 4 days post-injection, they received fermented milk. IgA, CD4, CD8, cytokines and Bcl-2 positive cells in mammary glands and cytokine in serum were
determined. Mice fed with L. helveticus R389 fermented milk and injected with tumour cells increased IgA and CD4 positive cells in mammary glands (tumour control increased CD8+ cells).

Mice from fermented milk control groups (without tumour cell injection) did not show changes in immune cell or cytokine positive cell numbers.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the soluble polysaccharide fraction from L. acidophilus 606 may constitute a novel anticancer agent, which manifests a high degree of selectivity for human cancer cells and antioxidative agent in the food industry.

Recent evidence suggests that the form of immune signal is strongly strain-dependent, with some well-defined bacterial strains potentiating systemic T helper (Th) 1-type immune activity and favoring cell-mediated immunity (CMI). Clinical studies have shown promising outlets for the use of non-pathogenic lactobacilli as provisioners of pro-Th1 immune signals in anti-allergy and anti-tumor immunotherapy, as well as combating intracellular microbial infections and immunosenescence.

The underlying process appears to involve pro-Th1 activating cytokines (IFNα/IFNγ, IL-12, and IL-18) generated following bacterial contact with accessory leukocytes. The utilization of pro-Th1/CMI lactobacilli in present and future clinical immunotherapy is discussed.

Cell-mediated mechanisms such as Th1 responses have an impact on breast cancer survival.

"In contrast to the long-held belief that breast cancer is a weakly immunogenic tumor, accumulating evidence indicates an immune infiltrate is an invariable finding in breast cancers, raising hopes that immunotherapy for breast cancers may succeed in targeted patients,

Several nutrients and hormones measurably influence Th1/Th2 balance, including plant sterols/sterolins, melatonin, probiotics, progesterone, and the minerals selenium and zinc. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) significantly benefit diverse inflammatory and autoimmune conditions without any specific Th1/Th2 effect.


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Comment by Sarah Thompson on May 5, 2011 at 10:16am
My use of probiotic foods was tremendously beneficial during my chemo treatment.  The only challenge is that the sour stuff is too hard on the mouth sometimes.


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