The role of adjuvant probiotics to attenuate intestinal inflammatory responses due to cancer treatments.Benef Microbes 2018; 9(6):899-916BM
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment regimens for gastrointestinal, peritoneal and pelvic tumours can disrupt the intestinal microbiome and intestinal epithelia. Such disturbances can provoke symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy induced gastrointestinal toxicity aggravating intestinal microbiome dysbiosis is postulated to adversely alter the intestinal microbiome, with a consequent induced pro-inflammatory effect that disrupts the intestinal microbiome-epithelia-mucosal immunity axis. Although not widely recognised, the intestinal mucosa is the largest and most densely and dynamically populated immune-environment. Cancer treatment adverse effects that affect intestinal and mucosal cells inadvertently target and disrupt resident intestinal macrophages, the cells that marshal immune activity in the intestinal mucosa by shaping pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory activities to control and eradicate infectious insults and maintain local homeostasis. Pathobionts (bacteria capable of pathogenic pro-inflammatory activity) and noxious environmental and bacterial antigens use the intestinal epithelia and gap junctions as a point of entry into the systemic circulation. This translocation movement promotes toxic sequelae that obstruct intestinal macrophage functions resulting in uncontrolled local and systemic pro-inflammatory activity, loss of phagocytic function and loss of expression of tight junction proteins. Probiotic bacteria as an adjunctive treatment shows efficacy in ameliorating enteropathies such as mucositis/diarrhoea resulting from chemotherapy or radiotherapy regimens. As such we posit that an important benefit that warrants a further focused research effort is the administration of adjuvant probiotics to help reduce the incidence of febrile neutropenia.