Tags: Cancer | cancer | low | cal | diet | treatment | survival

Low-Cal Diets Boost Cancer Survival: Study

Thursday, 22 Aug 2013 02:52 PM

By Nick Tate

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Can you starve a tumor? That’s the intriguing possibility suggested by new French research that has found cancer patients who cut calories while undergoing treatment can boost their survival odds.
 
The findings — published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology — indicate low-calorie diets may enhance the effectiveness of targeted cancer therapy and play a role in programmed tumor cell death.
 
Past research has linked high-calorie diets to the development of cancer, but the new work by the French Institute for Health and Medical Research in Nice, France, is one of the first studies to produce scientific evidence that low-cal diets can change metabolism and boost the odds of successful cancer treatment.
 
Editor's Note:Knowing these 5 cancer-causing signs is crucial to remaining cancer-free for life

"While we know that consuming excess calories is associated with increased cancer risk, far less clarity exists in the scientific literature about how calorie restriction and the body's metabolism can potentially affect the body's response to cancer treatment," said lead researcher Jean-Ehrland Ricci. "By understanding the link between metabolism and the body's natural cancer suppressors and activators, we can perhaps improve the efficacy of therapy and improve survival for patients suffering from specific types of cancer."
 
Researchers explained that the body metabolizes food to produce energy and help build proteins. When fewer calories are consumed, the amount of nutrients available to the body's cells is reduced, slowing metabolism and limiting the function of some proteins — including those associated with several cancers.
 
Ricci and a team of researchers conducted a series of experiments in mice bred to develop lymphoma. Half the mice were fed a regular diet and the other half a reduced-calorie diet (75 percent of normal intake). About half the mice in each of the two groups were also treated with an experimental cancer therapy, known as ABT-737.
 
After 17 days, researchers found the mice treated with ABT-737 and fed a low-calorie diet lived much longer than the others — suggesting the restricted diet helped boost the effectiveness of the treatment. Researchers also found reduced levels of cancer-related proteins in the treated mice that ate fewer calories, suggesting that may partly explain the beneficial effects of a low-cal diet.
 
"The results of our investigation provide encouraging data that suggest that the combination of a defined period of calorie restriction and targeted therapy may have the potential to increase cancer survival," said Ricci. "This is just the beginning of our journey to bring these research findings to the clinical setting. We next want to examine what component of a reduced-calorie diet — fats, sugars, or another food compound — influenced the lymphoma cells' improved sensitivity to treatment."

Editor's Note:Knowing these 5 cancer-causing signs is crucial to remaining cancer-free for life

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