The intestinal ecosystem being built of a set of microorganisms inhabiting the digestive tract, is of great importance for maintaining human health. Balanced gut microbiota composition positively affects almost all processes in human body. The main functions regulated by the intestinal microflora include: immunity, nutritional status, but also the transformation of chemical compounds (xenobiotics) in the body, the toxicity of consumed chemicals and the development of cancer (especially in the large intestine, though not only). Individual bacteria living in the intestine differ significantly in their metabolic activity. Favourable microorganisms produce a number of enzymes that can bind, neutralize or transform into harmless compounds with procarcinogenic activity (most often derived from food). Due to prevalent imbalance within the intestinal ecosystem, the number of these healthy bacteria significantly decreases. Subsequently the abundance of bacteria that produce enzymes involved in the cancer development elevates, which consequently promotes the neoplasia.
Studies have shown that the proper microbiota composition is a protective factor against the development of colorectal cancer. Moreover, the healthy intestinal ecosystem guarantees optimal metabolic activity, which was discovered to lower the risk of neoplasia. Properly selected probiotic strains reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. In animal studies, it has been shown that the supply of probiotic strains inhibits early neoplastic lesions and progression of cancer in the large intestine. It is assumed that probiotics may inhibit the cancer development in the large intestine, primarily by eliminating intestinal dysbiosis, inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria, restoring the beneficial bacteria metabolism profile, inhibiting inflammation and regulating the immune system in the gut.
In patients predisposed to the development of colon cancer as well as a part of gastrointestinal diseases prevention overall, evaluation of the intestinal bacteria counts and tailored probiotic therapy should be a priority.
In case of cancer and increased risk of neoplasia the following tests are recommended: