- 1 Fasting and Caloric Restriction in Cancer Prevention and Treatment.
- 2 The effects of short-term fasting on quality of life and tolerance to chemotherapy in patients with breast and ovarian cancer: a randomized cross-over pilot study
- 3 To fast, or not to fast before chemotherapy, that is the question
Food deprevation or fasting-like diet with chemotherapy has been shown to strip away the guard that protects certain cancers from the immune system in a new USC-led study on mice. The study was published in the journal Cancer Cell on July 11, days after BMC Cancer published a separate study showing that a pilot trial of the three-day, fasting-like diet was “safe and feasible” for 18 cancer patients on chemotherapy.
The mouse study on skin and breast cancers is the first study to show that a diet that mimics fasting activated the immune system and exposed the cancer cells to the immune system. (1) If this rodent study could be applied to human, it would be an less expensive and painful way to deal with cancer The two studies’ findings build upon prior research that showed a short-term fast starves cancer cells and facilitates the chemo drug therapies to better target the cancer. Another more recent study showed that a low-calorie, fasting-mimicking diet can slow multiple sclerosis by killing off bad cells and generating new healthy ones.
The results of this latest mouse study are striking since chemotherapy’s side effects include immunosuppression. The researchers found that the fasting-mimicking diet, when used with chemotherapy drugs, raises the levels of bone marrow cells that generate immune system cells, such as T cells, B cells and “natural killer” cells that infiltrate tumors. As such, this approach can be characterized as an immunotherapy one
T Regulatory Cells better Modulated with Fasting strategies
In the mouse study, scientists saw another significant effect of the diet: the “T regulatory” cells which protect the cancer cells were expelled. The scientists traced this effect to a weakened enzyme, heme oxygenase or HO-1, inside the T regulatory cells’ mitochondria.
Prior research has indicated that HO-1 levels are often elevated in tumors and is linked to several cancers.
“While it’s more of a mechanism to keep the T cells away, in some ways the heme oxygenase tricks the immune system into thinking that the bad cells should not be killed,” Longo said. “By removing heme oxygenase, these T regulatory cells are also taken from the site of the cancer.”
In examining the effects on breast cancer, researchers found that putting the mice on four days of the low-calorie fasting-mimicking diet, with chemo drugs doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, was as effective as two days of a water-only, short-term starvation diet. Both diets with the drugs slowed the growth of tumors while protecting healthy, normal cells. The scientists found similar effects on melanoma.
They also found three cycles of the fasting diet, combined with doxorubicin, prompted a 33 percent increase in the levels of cancer-fighting white blood cells and doubled the number of progenitor cells in the bone marrow. The cancer-killing cells were also more effective at attacking and shrinking the tumors.
The scientists found that short-term starvation (a two-day, water-only diet) and the low-calorie fasting-like diet in mice reduced the expression of the HO-1 gene in the T regulatory cells. This change made it easier for the chemotherapy drugs to attack the cancer.
Mechanisms of Action
When body deprived of proteins, uses up enzymes from the pancreas while mobilizing the immune system. As a result ,we are depriving the immune system in its anti cancer role. By undergoing a holistic plant-vegan approach, the body is then able to identify and destroy the bad but not good cells in a natural way.
The results of the pilot trial suggested that even water-only fasting in combination with chemotherapy is safe for humans. The research team also found that 72 hours of fasting is associated with lower side effects, compared with fasting for 24 hours. This raises the possibility that a doctor-monitored, fasting-like diet could bolster the effectiveness of immunotherapy on a wider range of cancers.
The mice produced more immune system cells when on the fasted diet, including the B cells and T cells that actively target and kill tumor cells. Another discovery was that cells that normally protect tumors—called T regulatory cells—were kept out of the tumors. This may have helped chemotherapy drugs work better.
he same researchers also conducted a pilot study with human cancer patients, mainly to determine if fasting diets with chemotherapy would be safe. Both a water-only, two-day fast and a four-day, restricted-calorie diet that mimics fasting were found to be safe for cancer patients under the supervision of doctors. All of these findings indicate that fasting or a fasting-mimicked diet along with chemotherapy could be used to slow tumor growth in cancer patients.
hese studies indicate this may be due to the following effects from fasting decreased blood glucose production stem cells triggered to regenerate the immune system balanced nutritional intake increased production of tumor-killing cells
Fasting May Reduce Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy, can cause side effects in patients that range from uncomfortable to debilitating. Studies have found that intermittent fasting can protect against these side effects. In one study, cancer patients fasted for a few days and then ate a normal diet before treatment. They did not lose a dangerous amount of weight or see any interference with the cancer treatments.
They did, however, see benefits in reduced side effects as compared to patients who did not fast. Patients who participated in the fasting diet experienced less fatigue and weakness, fewer headaches, less nausea, and no vomiting. They also saw reductions compared to the control group in dry mouth, mouth sores, cramps, and numbness.
A second study of mice showed that a bimonthly fasting-mimicking diet reduced the incidence of cancer. Results were similar in a pilot trial by the same scientists with 19 humans; it showed decreased biomarkers and risk factors for cancer.
In a 2016 study, research showed that a combination of fasting and chemotherapy slowed the progression of breast cancer and skin cancer. The combined treatment methods caused the body to produce higher levels of common lymphoid progenitor cells (CLPs) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. CLPs are the precursor cells to lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that migrate into a tumor and are known for killing tumors.
The same study noted short-term starvation makes cancer cells sensitive to chemotherapy while protecting normal cells, and it also promoted the production of stem cells.
Fasting and Caloric Restriction in Cancer Prevention and Treatment.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the USA and among the leading major diseases in the world. It is anticipated to continue to increase because of the growth of the aging population and prevalence of risk factors such as obesity, smoking, and/or poor dietary habits. Cancer treatment has remained relatively similar during the past 30 years with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in combination with surgery remaining the standard therapies although novel therapies are slowly replacing or complementing the standard ones. According to the American Cancer Society, the dietary recommendation for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy is to increase calorie and protein intake. In addition, there are no clear guidelines on the type of nutrition that could have a major impact on cancer incidence. Yet, various forms of reduced caloric intake such as calorie restriction (CR) or fasting demonstrate a wide range of beneficial effects able to help prevent malignancies and increase the efficacy of cancer therapies. Whereas chronic CR provides both beneficial and detrimental effects as well as major compliance challenges, periodic fasting (PF), fasting-mimicking diets (FMDs), and dietary restriction (DR) without a reduction in calories are emerging as interventions with the potential to be widely used to prevent and treat cancer. Here, we review preclinical and preliminary clinical studies on dietary restriction and fasting and their role in inducing cellular protection and chemotherapy resistance.
Caloric restriction; Cancer; Chemotherap
The effects of short-term fasting on quality of life and tolerance to chemotherapy in patients with breast and ovarian cancer: a randomized cross-over pilot study
To fast, or not to fast before chemotherapy, that is the question
CELL PRESS / 2016
CELL REPORTS / 2016
THE TIMES / 2015
CELL PRESS / 2014
The FDA has just approved a new treatment for advanced prostate cancer. The FDA has approved Provenge, a cellular immunotherapy drug. It is the first drug approved by the FDA in its class. Provenge works by stimulating the body’s own immune system to attack the cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer amoung men in the U.S and prostate cancer is the second most common form. The National Cancer Institute reports that in 2009 approximately 27,000 men died from prostate cancer and 192,000 new cases were reported.
Provenge is manufactured using the patient’s blood. Immune cells from the blood sample are processed to enhance their ability to fight cancer in a process known as leukapheresis. The cells are then re-administered to the patient intravenously in three doses. The FDA was prompted to approve this therapy following a study of 512 patients with advanced prostate cancer. Patients taking Provenge lived an average of 4 months longer than those who did not receive the treatment. Nearly every patient who received the Provenge therapy experienced adverse reactions including back pain, joint pain, chills, fatigue, fever, headache, nausea, or stroke. Provenge costs $93,000 for a total of three required dosages
(1). The mouse study’s first authors were Stefano Di Biasé and Changhan Lee, with co-authors Sebastian Brandhorst, Brianna Manes, Roberta Buono, Chia-Wei Cheng, Mafalda Cacciottolo, Alejandro Martin-Montalvo, Min Wei and Todd E. Morgan — all of the USC Longevity Institute; and Rafael de Cabo of the National Institute on Aging. The mouse study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (PO1 AG034906).