Gabriela Riscuta

Gabriela Riscuta

National Cancer Institute

Title: Fermented dairy products in cancer risk and prevention


Gabriela Riscuta MD, MS. CNS is a Program Director in the nutritional science research group at the division of cancer prevention, National Cancer Institute. In this position she plans, develops, directs, and coordinates extramural research programs in diet, nutrition and cancer as related to cancer prevention. At NCI, her role includes the examination of bioactive food components, i.e., as modifiers of cancer risk and tumor behavior in relation to specific genes and/or micro biome activity. She received a prestigious Merit Award in 2012 from NIH for the creation of a webinar series for physicians and researchers to understand the strength and the weakness of the evidence about the health effects of a food/bioactive food components.


Milk and dairy products contain micronutrients and bioactive constituents, which may influence cancer risk and progression. Historically, under the action of indigenous micro flora found in milk, the fermentation arose spontaneously. Today, controlled fermentation process is used to enhance taste and to increase the digestibility and shelf life of dairy products. Some fermented dairy products, have been evaluated in regard to their potential benefits in cancer prevention. In 2007 the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research report concluded that probable it is an association between milk intake and lower risk of colorectal cancer. Two new large cohort studies show possible protective effect against bladder cancer, associated with an increased intake of cultured dairy products in some populations. Efforts are made to understand the underlying mechanisms beyond these effects. Future studies need to clarify who might benefit and who may be placed at risk in relation to fermented dairy products consumption.