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Cancer Lett. 2014 Apr 10;345(2):258-70. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2013.08.013. Epub 2013 Aug 24.

Gastrointestinal cancers: influence of gut microbiota, probiotics and prebiotics.

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"Iuliu Hatieganu" University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Second Pediatric Clinic, Emergency Children's Hospital, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Electronic address:


Cancers of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract continue to represent a major health problem, despite progress in therapy. Gut microbiota is a key element related to the genesis of GI cancers, countless papers addressing this burning issue across the world. We provide an updated knowledge of the involvement of gut microbiota in GI tumorigenesis, including its underlying mechanisms. We present also a comprehensive review of the evidence from animal and clinical studies using probiotics and/or prebiotics in the prevention and/or therapy of GI tumours, of GI cancer therapy-related toxicity and of post-operative complications. We summarize the anticarcinogenic mechanisms of these biotherapeutics from in vitro, animal and clinical interventions. More research is required to reveal the interactions of microflora with genetic, epigenetic and immunologic factors, diet and age, before any firm conclusion be drawn. Well-designed, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled human studies using probiotics and/or prebiotics, with adequate follow-up are necessary in order to formulate directions for prevention and therapy.


Dysbiosis; Gastrointestinal cancer; Gut microflora; Prebiotics; Probiotics

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