Nutrition and Cancer Prevention
CHAPTER 15: Nutrition, the Gastrointestinal Microbiota and Cancer Prevention
Published:27 Nov 2019
Special Collection: 2019 ebook collection
R. G. Lopes, S. B. R. do Prado, J. P. Fabi, 2019. "Nutrition, the Gastrointestinal Microbiota and Cancer Prevention", Nutrition and Cancer Prevention, Thomas Prates Ong, Fernando Salvador Moreno
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The gastrointestinal microbiota acts on the maturation of the immune system and in the regulation of epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation. An altered intestinal microbiota could lead to some undesirable outcomes, such as local and systemic inflammation, pathogenic colonization and, consequently, cancer. The interaction between the human immune system and the gastrointestinal microbiota hinders a wide range of pathogenic attacks. However, when dysbiosis – an altered biological condition of bacterial profiling – occurs, carcinogenesis could be incipient. In this way, the gastrointestinal microbiota plays an important role in cancer prevention and cancer progression. Colorectal carcinogenesis is mainly driven by sequential genetic mutations in intestinal cells’ DNA and there is a correlation between early signs of dysbiosis with colorectal cancer (CRC). Some bacteria could be the cause of CRC while some others could just be the consequence of cancer development. Within all these bacteria, some could modify food components from diet resulting in tumor-suppressor molecules or in pro-carcinogenic molecules. In this way, a regular ingestion of a balanced diet, with low amounts of fat, red meat and processed meat, and high amounts of food fibers with optional supplementation of probiotics could be a key strategy for cancer prevention.