ecancermedicalscience

Special Issue

Pre-, pro- and synbiotics in cancer prevention and treatment—a review of basic and clinical research

5 Sep 2018
Alasdair J Scott, Claire A Merrifield, Jessica A Younes, Elizabeth P Pekelharing

There is a growing appreciation of the role of the human microbiota in the pathophysiology of cancer. Pre-, pro- and synbiotics are some of the best evidenced means of manipulating the microbiota for therapeutic benefit and their potential role in the prevention and treatment of cancer has garnered significant interest. In this review, we discuss how these agents may have oncosuppressive effects by maintaining intestinal barrier function, immunomodulation, metabolism and preventing host cell proliferation. We highlight the epidemiological and trials-based evidence supporting a role for pre-, pro- and synbiotics in the prevention of cancer. Ultimately, there is more evidence in support of these agents as adjuncts in the treatment of cancer. We discuss their roles in optimising the efficacy and/or minimising the adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, antibiotics and surgery. Although we see significant promise in the application of pre-, pro- and synbiotics for clinical benefit in oncology patients, the field is very much in its infancy and oncologists face substantial challenges in advising their patients appropriately.

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