Effect of a probiotic product containing a strain of Lactobacillus bulgaricus DWT1 on preventing adverse effects during adjuvant therapy for patients with tumours of the stomach, colon and rectum


Previous experience in oncology. The studies of some strains of Lactobacillus bulgaricus have shown that they have antimutagenic effect. Some experiments on animals show a certain beneficial effect in cases of colorectal cancer in rodents. A population study noted lower levels of occurrence of colorectal cancer among a considerable group of fermented dairy products consumers.

Tumours in the digestive system are of exclusive importance because of their high frequency rate and because of the great importance of the digestive system for the whole body. Nutritional therapy that improves digestion is very important for the treatment of the underlying disease as well as for the symptomatic treatment. On the other hand, adjuvant therapy, i.e. the specific oncological treatment /chemo- or radiotherapy/ often leads to a number of healthy tissue damages and to serious complications and side effects. These complications inhibit the beneficial effects of treatment and even make it impossible. Cytostatics cause nausea and vomiting during and after application of chemotherapy and overtaking vomiting due to inadequate antiemetic prevention in previous chemotherapy. Mucositis is an extremely serious side effect after both chemotherapy and irradiation in the area of head and neck. It concerns inflammatory changes of the mucous membrane of the digestive system. It often occurs in parallel with myelosuppression and leukopenia. The most dangerous consequence of leukopenia /decrease in the number of leukocytes/ is febrile neutropenia that requires hospitalization, blood transfusion and often leads to discontinuation of cytostatics and the quality of life is getting worse. Anorexia and cachexia /weight loss/ are frequent in patients with tumors of the digestive system and adversely affect the successful treatment, tolerance of treatment and indirectly affect survival. Radiotherapy causes adverse effects depending on the total dose, fraction size, field of irradiation, interval between fractions, type of radiotherapy and specificity of the irradiated tissues. The toxic effects of radiotherapy are dyspepsia, gastritis, ulceration /ulcers/ and radiation enteritis.

Results. The study included 80 patients with tumours of the stomach, colon and rectum. All of them have undergone a patho-histological examination and the disease stage was precisely defined. In this randomized study patients were divided into two groups of 40 patients. The first group of 40 patients was undergoing chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. The other group of 40 patients was taking probiotic food, containing strain of Lactobacillus bulgaricus DWT1 – 15 mg once a day before breakfast for three months, in addition to the chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy.

The obtained results show that probiotics, containing a strain of Lactobacillus bulgaricus DWT1, have a potential beneficial effect as taken in addition to the treatment of cancer patients with adjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. Administration of that probiotic product influences on the reduction of nausea and vomiting and maintains appetite of patients during the adjuvant therapy. There is a clear bond between reduction of the frequency and severity of disorders and the intake of Lactobacillus bulgaricus DWT1.

Nutritional therapy with probiotic product, containing a strain of Lactobacillus bulgaricus DWT1, helps the prevention of the adverse effects during adjuvant therapy.

Researchers: Prof. Dr. Mirko Shamia, PhD and associates, Zagreb, December 2012