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Oral Probiotic Could Improve HPV Clearance

This study was published on researchsquare.com as a preprint and has not yet been peer reviewed.

Key Takeaway

  • Women who took an oral probiotic — Lactobacillus crispatus M247 —were more likely to clear HPV and HPV-associated cytologic abnormalities than those who did not.

Why This Matters

  • Lactobacilli are the most common microorganisms in healthy vaginal microbiota. 

  • An imbalance in the vaginal microbiome can make women more susceptible to HPV infection.

  • The study suggests that oral lactobacilli could help restore the vaginal microbiome balance and possibly clear HPV.

Study Design

  • The investigators randomly assigned 160 women with HPV to receive lactobacillus supplements daily for 6 months (n = 80) or a placebo (n = 80). 

  • The bacteria were delivered in a sachet with at least 20 billion colony forming units, either mixed in water for drinking or eaten directly (Crispact sachets, PharmExtracta).

  • Women had atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance, low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions, or negative Pap smears with positive HPV-DNA.

  • Women were sexually active and a median of age 45 years. 

Key Results

  • At a median follow-up of 12 months, HPV-related cytological anomalies cleared in 60.5% of the probiotic group vs 41.3% of the control group (P = .05).

  • HPV cleared in 15.3% of the probiotic arm vs 9.3% of the control group (P = .34).

Limitations

  • The study didn’t account for spontaneous clearance of HPV infections.

  • The impact on cervical cancer rates was not assessed.

  • Concomitant use of oral and vaginal lactobacilli supplements was not addressed. 

Disclosures

  • Funding for the work was not reported, and the investigators didn’t report any disclosures.

This is a summary of a preprint research study, “The Lactobacillus Crispatus M247 oral administration: it really is an effective strategy in the management of papillomavirus-infected women?” led by Miriam Dellino, MD, of the University of Bari, Italy. The study has not been peer reviewed. The full text can be found at researchsquare.com.

M. Alexander Otto is a physician assistant with a master’s degree in medical science and a journalism degree from Newhouse. He is an award-winning medical journalist who has worked for several major news outlets before joining Medscape and also an MIT Knight Science Journalism fellow. Email: [email protected]

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