Potential of probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics for management of colorectal cancer

Gut Microbes. 2013 May-Jun;4(3):181-92. doi: 10.4161/gmic.23919. Epub 2013 Mar 19.


Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality and is the fourth most common malignant neoplasm in USA. Escaping apoptosis and cell mutation are the prime hallmarks of cancer. It is apparent that balancing the network between DNA damage and DNA repair is critical in preventing carcinogenesis. One-third of cancers might be prevented by nutritious healthy diet, maintaining healthy weight and physical activity. In this review, an attempt is made to abridge the role of carcinogen in colorectal cancer establishment and prognosis, where special attention has been paid to food-borne mutagens and functional role of beneficial human gut microbiome in evading cancer. Further the significance of tailor-made prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics in cancer management by bio-antimutagenic and desmutagenic activity has been elaborated. Probiotic bacteria are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a healthy benefit on the host. Prebiotics are a selectively fermentable non-digestible oligosaccharide or ingredient that brings specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity of the gastrointestinal microflora, conferring health benefits. Synbiotics are a combination of probiotic bacteria and the growth promoting prebiotic ingredients that purport "synergism."

Keywords: antimutagens; cancer; colorectal cancer; hetercyclic amines; mutagens; polyaromatic hydrocarbons; prebiotics; probiotics; synbiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimutagenic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage
  • Metagenome
  • Prebiotics*
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Synbiotics*
  • United States


  • Antimutagenic Agents
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Prebiotics