Influence of inulin and oligofructose on breast cancer and tumor growth

J Nutr. 1999 Jul;129(7 Suppl):1488S-91S. doi: 10.1093/jn/129.7.1488S.


Because anticarcinogenic and tumor-growth-inhibiting effects of nonsoluble fibers have been described, similar actions of soluble fibers appear to merit investigation. In a preliminary study on methylnitrosourea-induced mammary carcinogenesis in Sprague-Dawley female rats, 15% oligofructose added to the basal diet modulated this carcinogenesis in a negative manner. There was a lower number of tumor-bearing rats and a lower total number of mammary tumors in oligofructose-fed rats than in the group fed the basal diet alone. The effect of dietary nondigestible carbohydrates (15% oligofructose, inulin or pectin incorporated into the basal diet) on the growth of intramuscularly transplanted mouse tumors, belonging to two tumor lines (TLT and EMT6), was also investigated. The results were evaluated by regular tumor measurements with a vernier caliper. The mean tumor surface in the experimental groups was compared with that in animals of the control group fed the basal diet containing starch as the only carbohydrate. The growth of both tumor lines was significantly inhibited by supplementing the diet with nondigestible carbohydrates. Such nontoxic dietary treatment appears to be easy and risk free for patients, applicable as an adjuvant factor in the classical protocols of human cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemically induced
  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Carcinogens
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inulin / administration & dosage
  • Inulin / therapeutic use*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / chemically induced
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / drug therapy*
  • Methylnitrosourea
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Oligosaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Oligosaccharides / therapeutic use*
  • Pectins / administration & dosage
  • Pectins / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Carcinogens
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Oligosaccharides
  • oligofructose
  • Methylnitrosourea
  • Pectins
  • Inulin