Probiotics are live bacteria that could exert health beneficial effects upon consumption. In additional to their conventional use as gut modulators, probiotics are investigated for their role to prevent cancer. In-vivo and molecular studies have demonstrated encouraging outcomes, mainly attributed to its antimicrobial effects against carcinogen-producing microorganisms, antimutagenic properties, and alteration of the tumor differentiation processes. Prebiotics are indigestible food components that could promote the growth of beneficial bacteria including probiotics. Present studies have suggested that prebiotics also possess protective effect against colon carcinogenesis, mainly attributed to the production of short chain fatty acids upon its fermentation by gut microflora, and alteration of gene-expressions in tumor cells. Synbiotic (combination of probiotic and prebiotic) has been found to exert a synergistic effect in improving colon carcinogenesis compared to when both were used individually. This paper highlights the colon cancer preventive effects by probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics. In addition, the controversial outcomes on the insignificant effect of these food adjuncts will be discussed.
Keywords: colon cancer; mechanism; prebiotic; probiotic; synbiotic.