Probiotics, prebiotics and colorectal cancer prevention

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2016 Feb;30(1):119-31. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2016.02.009. Epub 2016 Feb 19.


Colorectal cancer (CRC), the third major cause of mortality among various cancer types in United States, has been increasing in developing countries due to varying diet and dietary habits and occupational hazards. Recent evidences showed that composition of gut microbiota could be associated with the development of CRC and other gut dysbiosis. Modulation of gut microbiota by probiotics and prebiotics, either alone or in combination could positively influence the cross-talk between immune system and microbiota, would be beneficial in preventing inflammation and CRC. In this review, role of probiotics and prebiotics in the prevention of CRC has been discussed. Various epidemiological and experimental studies, specifically gut microbiome research has effectively improved the understanding about the role of probiotics and microbial treatment as anticarcinogenic agents. A few human studies support the beneficial effect of probiotics and prebiotics; hence, comprehensive understanding is urgent to realize the clinical applications of probiotics and prebiotics in CRC prevention.

Keywords: Bifidobacteria; Colorectal cancer; Gut microbiota; Lactobacillus; Prebiotics; Probiotics; Synbiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Diet
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology
  • Prebiotics / microbiology*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Prebiotics