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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019 Jan 11:1-13. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1555789. [Epub ahead of print]

Targeting gut microbiota with dietary components on cancer: Effects and potential mechanisms of action.

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a Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food, Nutrition and Health, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health , Sun Yat-Sen University , Guangzhou , China.
b School of Chinese Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine , The University of Hong Kong , Hong Kong , China.
c Department of Food Science & Technology, School of Agriculture and Biology , Shanghai Jiao Tong University , Shanghai , China.
d South China Sea Bioresource Exploitation and Utilization Collaborative Innovation Center , Sun Yat-Sen University , Guangzhou , China.


Cancers are common chronic diseases worldwide and cause severe health burdens. There have been ongoing debates on the role of gut microbiota in the prevention and management of cancers, thus, it is worthwhile to pay high attention to the impacts of gut microbiota on several cancers, such as colon, liver, and breast cancers. In addition, it has been reported that gut microbiota may also affect the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Among all the factors that influence gut microbiota, diet is the most influential and modifiable. The prebiotics, dietary fibers, short-chain fatty acids, and other bioactive compounds are all important dietary components to assist the growth of beneficial microbiota in the gut, which can protect against cancers and promote human health. Their beneficial effects can be due to the fermentation of dietary fibers, the metabolism of phytochemicals, the synthesis of estrogens, and interactions with chemotherapies and immunotherapies. In order to provide updated information of the relationships among dietary components, gut microbiota, and cancer, in this review, we summarize the reciprocal interactions between dietary components and gut microbiota, and highlight the impacts of dietary components on several common cancers by targeting gut microbiota, with the potential mechanisms of actions also intensively discussed. As a result, this review can be very helpful for healthy people as well as cancer patients to prevent or manage cancers via dietary factor-mediated regulation of gut microbiota.


Gut bacteria; cancer; cancer prevention; diet; fibers; phytochemicals

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