Researchers in the United States have found that a fasting diet can help slow the development of cancerous tumors. An article about it published in the journal Nature.
Cancer cells consume a lot of glucose. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Dana-Farber Institute of Oncology have suggested that a fasting or ketogenic diet could affect tumor growth by reducing the amount of the substance available. However, initial experiments in mice with pancreatic tumors showed that a fasting diet had a much greater effect on tumor development than a ketogenic diet. This means that glucose does not play a major role in slowing tumor growth.
The researchers analyzed pancreatic tumor growth and nutrient content in mice that were on a regular, fasting, and ketogenic diet, respectively. With the latter two, blood glucose levels decreased in mice. However, with a fasting diet, lipid levels also decreased – while with a ketogenic diet, it increased. Without lipids, cancer cells cannot build their cell membranes, which forces them to produce these substances themselves. At the same time, it is important for them to maintain a balance of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, for which they need stearyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) – an enzyme that converts the former into the latter.
Both diets reduced SCD activity – however, the ketamine diet provided cancer cells with sufficient lipids. Mice on a fasting diet could not make up for the lack of fatty acids either from food or with the help of their “production”. Their tumor growth slowed down significantly. A study of data from 1165 patients with pancreatic cancer previously showed that diets high in fat and low in carbohydrates may be associated with increased patient life. At the same time, researchers do not recommend a fasting diet for cancer patients – it is difficult to follow, and it can have severe side effects. At the same time, the discovery of the dependence of cancer cells on the presence of unsaturated fatty acids can be used in the development of new methods of cancer treatment.
#effect #diet #development #cancer