Cancer Science & Therapy

ISSN: 1948-5956

Open Access

In-Vitro Characterization of the Anti-Cancer Activity of the Probiotic Bacterium Lactobacillus Fermentum NCIMB 5221 and Potential against Colorectal Cancer


Imen Kahouli, Meenakshi Malhotra, Moulay Alaoui-Jamali and Satya Prakash

Objective: Lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus fermentum, have shown to increase the levels of fecal short chain fatty acids known with its beneficial role in colonic health and were found to produce anti-carcinogenic compounds, suggesting a potential in colorectal cancer prevention. The aim of this study is to characterize the metabolic and anti-cancer features of L. fermentum NCIMB 5221 compared to two other Lactobacillus species.

Methods: A free fatty acid (FFA) profile was determined and the anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of bacterial cell free extracts were investigated. The effect on the growth of colon cancer cells compared to nonneoplastic colon cells was determined. The production of different SCFAs by the probiotic bacteria and the efficacy of their composition were analyzed.

Results: The FFA profile of L. fermentum is distinctive FFA profile (~ 368 MAE, 16 h, p < 0.01) compared to L. acidophilus ATCC 314 and L. rhamnosus ATCC 53103. L. fermentum extracts significantly inhibited cancer cell growth up to ~ 40% and induced apoptosis up to ~ 30% in SW-480 colon cancer cells (24 h, p < 0.05) compared to the untreated cells. However, L. fermentum did not inhibit CRL-1831 non-neoplastic colon cell growth but had a significant anti-proliferative effect against Caco-2 cancer cells (~ 60%, 72 h, p < 0.001) compared to control, which was related to the higher levels of SCFAs produced (~ 377 mg/L). Similar concentrations of SCFA formulations (that correspond to what was produced by L. fermentum) have shown the same inhibitory effect on Caco-2 cells.

Conclusion: L. fermentum NCIMB 5221 was more potent in suppressing colon cancer cells and promoting normal epithelial colon cell growth by the production of SCFAs and could be considered as biotherapeutic agent for the support of colonic health and the prevention of colorectal cancer.


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