Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG induces tumor regression in mice bearing orthotopic bladder tumors

Cancer Sci. 2010 Mar;101(3):751-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2009.01426.x. Epub 2009 Nov 6.


The present gold standard for bladder cancer is Mycobacterium bovis, Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) immunotherapy. But it has a non-responder rate of 30-50% and side effects are common. Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota has been reported to reduce the incidence of recurrence in bladder cancer patients and to cure tumor-bearing mice. Our aim was to determine if Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) could be as efficacious as BCG in a murine model of bladder cancer. MB49 bladder cancer cells secreting human prostate-specific antigen were implanted orthotopically in female C57BL/6 mice and urinary prostate-specific antigen levels were used as a marker of tumor growth. Mice were treated with either live or lyophilized LGG given via intravesical instillation, or both oral and intravesical LGG given once a week for a period of 6 weeks starting at day 4 after tumor implantation. A comparison of LGG and BCG immunotherapy was also carried out. LGG therapy (live or lyophilized) significantly (P = 0.006) increased the number of cured mice. Cytokine arrays and immune cell recruitment analysis revealed differences between untreated, treated, cured, and tumor-bearing mice. LGG therapy restored XCL1 levels to those in healthy bladders. LGG also recruited large numbers of neutrophils and macrophages to the tumor site. Intravesical LGG and BCG immunotherapy had cure rates of 89 and 77%, respectively, compared with 20% in untreated mice. LGG has the potential to replace BCG immunotherapy for the treatment of bladder cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mycobacterium bovis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / immunology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • monocyte-macrophage differentiation antigen