Are lactic acid bacteria able to help prevent breast cancer? Canadian scientists report that the breast tissue of women contains lactic acid bacteria which may provide protection from cancer. They compared the number and species of bacteria in the tissue of women with breast cancer with tissue of healthy women. The result: On the one hand, breast tissue is not – as had been previously assumed – sterile. Rather, it contains a diverse population of bacteria. On the other hand, the researchers found fewer lactic acid bacteria in the tumors and tissue of breast cancer patients compared to healthy women. Instead, they detected more commensal bacteria, including E. coli and bacillus strains.
The study demonstrates that the bacterial flora in the breast tissue differs between cancer patients and healthy controls, and that healthy women have more healthy (probiotic) lactic acid bacteria. Whether the latter actually prevent cancer, or whether the difference in bacterial diversity is caused by the tumor, will have to be determined in future research. In either case, increasing the share of lactic acid bacteria in breast tissue by eating probiotics may help prevent cancer, writes Canadian researcher Gregor Reid in his article for the journal “Applied and Environmental Microbiology”.