Can Probiotics decrease the side effects of immunotherapy?

probiotics and cancer

Immunotherapy is a treatment for cancer that has several advantages, such as helping the immune system to fight the disease. Given its importance in cancer treatment, improving its efficiency is vital. The immune system usually does not detect cancerous cells, but the immunotherapy uses drugs and other substances to create a stronger response.

 

Recently, scientists have discovered that the gut microbiome, which includes trillions of intestinal microorganisms, is capable of controlling the immune system. It appeared that there was a manipulating impact on the gut microbiome due to dietary choices. People who ate a high-fiber diet were five times more inclined to respond to immunotherapy and had more bacteria associated with a positive response.

 

On the other hand, people with diets high in refined sugar and processed meat had less of those good bacteria. Overall, the research may explain in part why certain cancers are not responding well to immunotherapy care. It also indicates that certain dietary factors — especially careful evaluation of probiotic supplements — can affect the success rates.

 

Further studies are underway. One is actually using an oral pill to seek whether it has a positive influence on the reaction of the gut microbiome and immunotherapy.

 

Cancer treatment also causes severe side effects, including damage to the gastrointestinal system. Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of prescribing probiotics to cancer patients seeking cancer treatment, with proven effectiveness in minimizing side effects associated with the gut. The immune system of the host plays an important role in the fight against tumor cells. Due to their genetic instability, malignant cells on their side are constantly developing new strategies to avoid immunosurveillance. Targeted immunotherapy is novel cancer care that can improve a host’s immune response to the tumor while helping to ‘bury’ cancer resistance and mechanisms of cancer recurrence.

 

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are believed to offer health benefits when ingested in adequate quantities. The hypothesis behind their use is that gut dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gastrointestinal (GI) system’s normal flora, may lead to illness, impaired metabolism, and/or immune system dysregulation. The gut microbiota is composed of all commensal microorganisms, including bacteria (predominantly), fungi, archaea, and virus, and evidence shows that it is involved in a complex relationship with the GI tract and immune system. 

 

 

  • Supportive care 

 

 

While there is much speculation about the possibility that probiotics may prevent cancer, the most well-studied use of probiotics is as a supportive care for patients receiving cancer treatment. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) indicate that probiotics can minimize some chemotherapy and radiation therapy (RT) related toxicity, although the sample sizes of these trials were small.

 

In its study, the same Cochrane review covered 3 RCTs and found that probiotics significantly reduced the incidence of any diarrhea compared to placebo (pooled risk ratio; 0.59; 95 percent CI, 0.36-0.96).

 

 

  • Probiotics Protection 

 

 

Probiotics are commonly advertised as a safe means of improving digestion among healthy people and modifying disease processes. While probiotics tend to be associated with few adverse events (AEs), it is important to note that manufacturers do not have formal reporting of AEs, and studies may or may not report AEs. The actual occurrence of AE’s is, therefore, uncertain. Furthermore, there is no regulation as to what suppliers claim is in their product, in terms of living organisms and the type of organisms, since probiotics generally fall within the realm of supplements, which have limited regulatory oversight by the FDA.

 

Several small RCTs indicate that probiotics help decrease the risk and/or severity of toxicities caused by cancer treatment, especially diarrhea, postoperative infections, and mucositis. Probiotics tend to be associated with few AEs, although it is important to remember that certain countries like the United States of America do not regulate probiotic labeling. Bloodstream infections are possible but uncommon, particularly among hospitalized patients.