Effects of 12 weeks of probiotic supplementation on quality of life in colorectal cancer survivors: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Dig Liver Dis. 2014 Dec;46(12):1126-32. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2014.09.004. Epub 2014 Oct 23.


Background: Probiotics may help resolve bowel symptoms and improve quality of life. We investigated the effects of 12 weeks of probiotics administration in colorectal cancer patients.

Methods: We conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. The participants took probiotics (Lacidofil) or placebo twice a day for 12 weeks. The cancer-related quality of life (FACT), patient's health-9 (PHQ-9), and bowel symptom questionnaires were completed by each participant.

Results: We obtained data for 32 participants in the placebo group and 28 participants in the probiotics group. The mean ages of total participants were 56.18 ± .86 years and 58.3% were male. Administration of probiotics significantly decreased the proportion of patients suffering from irritable bowel symptoms (0 week vs. 12 week; 67.9% vs. 45.7%, p=0.03), improved colorectal cancer-related FACT (baseline vs. 12 weeks: 19.79 ± 4.66 vs. 21.18 ± 3.67, p=0.04) and fatigue-related FACT (baseline vs. 12 weeks: 43.00 (36.50-45.50) vs. 44.50 (38.50-49.00), p=0.02) and PHQ-9 scores (0 weeks vs. 12 weeks; 3.00 (0-8.00) vs. 1.00 (0-3.00), p=0.01). We found significant differences in changes of the proportion of patients with bowel symptoms (p<0.05), functional well-being scores (p=0.04) and cancer-related FACT scores (p=0.04) between the two groups.

Conclusion: Probiotics improved bowel symptoms and quality of life in colorectal cancer survivors.

Keywords: Bowel symptoms; Cancer survivors; Colorectal cancer; Probiotics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / complications*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / etiology
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Survivors*
  • Treatment Outcome