Randomised clinical trial: the effects of perioperative probiotic treatment on barrier function and post-operative infectious complications in colorectal cancer surgery - a double-blind study

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Jan;33(1):50-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2010.04492.x. Epub 2010 Oct 25.


Background: Infection following abdominal operation remains a major factor affecting the morbidity of patients after surgery.

Aim: To determine the effects of perioperative administration of probiotics on the gut barrier function and the surgical outcome in patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery.

Methods: One hundred patients with colorectal carcinoma were randomly divided into the control group (n = 50) and the probiotics group (n = 50). The probiotics were given orally for 6 days preoperatively and 10 days post-operatively. Outcomes were measured by bacterial translocation, gut permeability, the effect on the faecal microbiota, and the clinical outcomes such as infectious-related complications and gut defecation function.

Results: Compared with the control group, probiotics group had increased transepithelial resistance (P < 0.05), reduced transmucosal permeation of horseradish peroxidase and lactulose/mannitol ratio, reduced bacterial translocation (P < 0.05), decreased ileal-bile acid binding protein (P < 0.05) and positive rate of blood bacterial DNA (P < 0.05) and an enhanced mucosal tight junction protein expression. They had decreased blood enteropathogenic bacteria and increased faecal bacterial variety. The post-operative recovery of peristalsis, incidence of diarrhoea, and infectious-related complications were also improved.

Conclusion: Probiotics can improve the integrity of gut mucosal barrier by benefiting the faecal microbiota, and decreasing infectious complications in patients with colorectal cancer undergoing colorectomy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / complications*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perioperative Care / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Probiotics / pharmacology
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome