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Effect of oral administration of kefir on serum proinflammatory cytokines on 5-FU induced oral mucositis in patients with colorectal cancer

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In order to investigate the effect of kefir consumption on mucositis induced by 5-FU based chemotherapy (CT), we monitored the systemic immune response by measurement of the serum proinflammatory cytokine levels and we evaluated the anti-microbial effect of kefir with an agar diffusion method. Forty patients with colorectal cancer were included in this randomized prospective study. On the first 5 days of each CT cycle, the study group received oral lavage with kefir and then swallowed 250 ml of kefir while control group received oral lavage with 0.09% NaCl twice a day. Before and after every cycle of CT, the oral mucosa was assessed. Serum proinflammatory cytokine levels were evaluated before the initiation and after the third and the sixth cycle. Kefir was administered in 99 out of 205 courses. Mucositis developed in 27.3% of the courses given with kefir administration and in 21.7% of the courses given with 0.9% NaCl oral rinses. The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). When we compared the serum proinflammatory cytokine levels of the two groups at the baseline and following the third and the sixth cycles, we again found no statistically significant difference (p > 0.05). Kefir consumption at the mentioned doses made no statistically significant effect on serum proinflammatory cytokine levels and on the incidence of mucositis development in cancer patients. Under in vitro conditions, kefir inhibits only Staphylococcus epidermidis.

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Correspondence to D. Derin.

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Topuz, E., Derin, D., Can, G. et al. Effect of oral administration of kefir on serum proinflammatory cytokines on 5-FU induced oral mucositis in patients with colorectal cancer. Invest New Drugs 26, 567–572 (2008).

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  • Serum proinflammatory cytokines
  • Mucositis
  • Kefir