Kefir: a powerful probiotics with anticancer properties

Med Oncol. 2017 Sep 27;34(11):183. doi: 10.1007/s12032-017-1044-9.


Probiotics and fermented milk products have attracted the attention of scientists from various fields, such as health care, industry and pharmacy. In recent years, reports have shown that dietary probiotics such as kefir have a great potential for cancer prevention and treatment. Kefir is fermented milk with Caucasian and Tibet origin, made from the incubation of kefir grains with raw milk or water. Kefir grains are a mixture of yeast and bacteria, living in a symbiotic association. Antibacterial, antifungal, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects are some of the health beneficial properties of kefir grains. Furthermore, it is suggested that some of the bioactive compounds of kefir such as polysaccharides and peptides have great potential for inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis in tumor cells. Many studies revealed that kefir acts on different cancers such as colorectal cancer, malignant T lymphocytes, breast cancer and lung carcinoma. In this review, we have focused on anticancer properties of kefir.

Keywords: Anticancer; Cancer; Kefir; Probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / immunology
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antimutagenic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diet therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology
  • Kefir*
  • Leukemia / diet therapy
  • Leukemia / pathology
  • Probiotics / pharmacology*
  • Sarcoma / diet therapy
  • Sarcoma / pathology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antimutagenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Immunologic Factors