Inhibitory Effect of Vaginal Lactobacillus Supernatants on Cervical Cancer Cells

Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2018 Jun;10(2):236-242. doi: 10.1007/s12602-017-9339-x.


Lactobacilli have been shown to inhibit the proliferation of several types of cancer cells, but the effects of vaginal Lactobacilli on cervical cancer cells have seldom been reported. We incubated Caski cells with supernatants of predominant strains in the vagina and investigated their effects on cell growth and the possible mechanisms. Cell-free supernatants of Lactobacillus crispatus, L. jensenii, and L. gasseri were prepared and purified. Caski cells were treated with various concentrations of Lactobacillus supernatants (LS). The effect of LS on cell growth was investigated using MTT assays. The influence of LS on the cell cycle and expression of human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 and E7 oncogenes was determined by flow cytometry and RT-PCR, respectively. LS-inhibited Caski cell proliferation caused morphological changes in a pH-independent manner. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that cells exposed to LS exhibited a significant increase of cell number in S phase and a strong decrease of cell number in G2/M phase. Expression of HPV E6 and E7 oncogenes, as well as CDK2 and cyclin A was decreased after treatment with LS, while expression of p21 was increased. Supernatants of L. crispatus, L. jensenii, and L. gasseri have inhibitory effects on the viability of cervical cancer cells via regulation of HPV oncogenes and cell cycle-related genes. Lactobacillus, as a promising treatment for cancer, is being assessed for its effect, and these results provide further evidence in this respect.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Caski cell; Cell cycle arrest; Cytotoxic effect; Lactobacillus.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus / physiology*
  • Papillomaviridae / genetics
  • Papillomaviridae / metabolism
  • Papillomavirus E7 Proteins / genetics
  • Papillomavirus E7 Proteins / metabolism
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / virology
  • Vagina / microbiology*


  • Papillomavirus E7 Proteins