The intestinal microbiota may have a cancer preventive action


Although environmental and genetic factors have already been clearly identified as promoting or preventing cancer, the origin of a large part of cases still remains unexplained.

In this context, a Sino-Canadian team of researchers recently developed a hypothesis, in the journal Oncotarget: according to them the intestinal microbiota could be an overlooked factor that may, according to its state, promote or prevent the development of cancer.

To support their hypothesis, the scientists showed that the molecules produced by certain intestinal bacteria, sampled from the stool of young children and adults, can reduce the multiplication of various tumor cells (leukemia; cervical, ovarian, colon cancer, etc.), both in in vitro cultures and in laboratory animals.

These apparently protective bacteria vary in terms of phylogeny, although most of them belong to the Actinobacteria family, and to a lesser degree Firmicutes and Proteobacteria.

The study authors conclude that in the future, intestinal bacteria may be a source of new anticancer medication. They suggest that it is even more important to preserve the intestinal flora since, when balanced, it may contribute to naturally protecting our body from cancer.


Zhou Y-J et al. Cancer killers in the human gut microbiota: diverse phylogeny and broad spectra. Oncotarget, Advance Publications. 2017 Apr 21.[]=17319&pubmed-linkout=1