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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published online by De Gruyter April 20, 2021

Natural substances in cancer—do they work?

  • Adrianna Sobolewska , Aleksandra Dunisławska and Katarzyna Stadnicka
From the journal Physical Sciences Reviews


Owing to anticancer properties of selected natural substances, it is assumed that they have potential to be used in oncological therapy. Here, the recently proven effects of the selected natural polyphenols, resveratrol and curcumin, are described. Secondly, the potential of probiotics and prebiotics in modulation of immunological response and/or enhancing the chemotherapeutic treatments is reported based on the recent clinical trials. Further, the chapter presents current knowledge regarding the targeted supplementation of the patient with probiotic bacteria and known efficacy of probiotics to support immunotherapy. The major clinical trials are listed, aiming to verify whether, and to which extent the manipulation of patient’s microbiome can improve the outcome of chemotherapies. In the end, a potential of natural substances and feed ingredients to pose epigenetic changes is highlighted. The chapter provides an insight into the scientific proofs about natural bioactive substances in relation to cancer treatment, leaded by the question – do they really work?

Corresponding author: Katarzyna Stadnicka, Department of Animal Biotechnology and Genetics, Faculty of Animal Breeding and Biology, UTP University of Science and Technology, Bydgoszcz, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland, E-mail:

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Published Online: 2021-04-20

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