Bifidobacterium spp: the promising Trojan Horse in the era of precision oncology

Future Oncol. 2019 Nov;15(33):3861-3876. doi: 10.2217/fon-2019-0374. Epub 2019 Oct 31.


Selective delivery of therapeutic agents into solid tumors has been a major challenge impeding the achievement of long-term disease remission and cure. The need to develop alternative drug delivery routes to achieve higher drug concentration in tumor tissue, reduce unwanted off-target side effects and thus achieve greater therapeutic efficacy, has resulted in an explosive body of research. Bifidobacterium spp. are anaerobic, nonpathogenic, Gram-positive bacteria, commensal to the human gut that are a possible anticancer drug-delivery vehicle. In this review, we describe Bifidobacterium's microbiology, current clinical applications, overview of the preclinical work investigating Bifidobacterium's potential to deliver anticancer therapy, and review the different strategies used up to date. Finally, we discuss both current challenges and future prospects.

Keywords: Bifidobacterium spp.; anticancer delivery vehicle; bioconversion; gene therapy; targeted-drug delivery system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bifidobacterium / physiology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Medical Oncology / methods*
  • Medical Oncology / trends
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Precision Medicine / methods*
  • Precision Medicine / trends
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents