The potential mechanisms involved in the anti-carcinogenic action of probiotics

Daniel Commane, Roisin Hughes, Colette Shortt, Ian Rowland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

169 Citations (Scopus)


Probiotic bacteria are live microbial food ingredients that provide a health benefit to the consumer. In the past it was suggested that they served to benefit the host primarily through the prevention of intestinal infections. More recent studies have implicated probiotic bacteria in a number of other beneficial effects within the host including: *The suppression of allergies. *Control of blood cholesterol levels. *Modulation of immune function. *And the prevention of cancers of the colon. The reputed anti-carcinogenic effect of probiotics arises from in vivo studies in both animals and to a limited extent in man; this evidence is supported by in vitro studies with carcinoma cell lines and anti-mutagenicity assays. However, the mechanisms involved in any effect have thus far been difficult to elucidate; studies offer evidence for a variety of mechanisms; we have reviewed these and come to the opinion that, the anti-carcinogenic effect may not be attributable to a single mechanism but rather to a combination of events not yet fully elucidated or understood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-289
Number of pages14
JournalMutation Research
Issue number1-2
Early online date10 Aug 2005
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


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