New research suggests that a diet low in carbohydrates and sugar could slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells. The news might have mesothelioma patients questioned about the value of the keto diet for mesothelioma, too.
The new study appears in the latest issue of the journal Cell reports. The researchers administered a restrictive ketogenic diet to mice with some type of lung cancer. They also gave them a medicine to prevent the kidneys from absorbing more glucose.
The trial was not specifically focused on the keto diet for mesothelioma. But the results show that sugar and some cancers do not mix well.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet – or "keto" – is very low in sugar and carbohydrates and high in fat. It resembles the Atkins diet and other low carb diets, but is even more restrictive.
The lower carbohydrate level throws the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Although some people use the keto diet to lose weight, some studies suggest that it could also help fight diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.
The new research is based on the idea that many types of cancer, including malignant mesothelioma, depend on sugar to produce energy. The keto diet keeps sugar levels very low.
Even in this case, cancer specialists do not routinely recommend the keto diet for mesothelioma or any other type of cancer.
Results of the Keto Diet study
There are no data on the keto diet for mesothelioma. In fact, the weight loss and nutritional imbalances it can cause can be dangerous for patients undergoing mesothelioma treatment.
But the new multinational study shows that squamous cell carcinoma is very sensitive to this diet.
"The ketogenic diet and the pharmacological restriction of blood glucose per se inhibited the growth of squamous cell carcinoma tumors in lung cancer mice," says Dr. Jung-Whan Kim, author of the study.
Neither the keto diet nor the blood glucose medication reduces the tumors of the mouse. They only prevented them from growing up.
To determine the impact of glucose levels on human cancers, the researchers tested the blood of 192 patients. They found that patients with squamous cell carcinoma with the lowest blood glucose levels had the longest cancer survival.
The results are potentially interesting for patients with this type of cancer. But they do not suggest that the keto diet for mesothelioma or other types of cancer is a good idea. There was no difference in sugar-related survival in patients with non-squamous cell lung cancer.
"Our results suggest that this approach is specific to the type of cancer cell. We can not generalize to all types of cancer, "says Dr. Kim.
Although the keto diet for mesothelioma may not be advisable, the study contains another lesson. Dr. Kim said this could pave the way for new ways to fight cancer by working with the body's systems.
"Maybe we can manipulate our own biological system or activate something we already have in place to fight cancer more effectively," he says.
Paul Kraus, the world's oldest patient with mesothelioma, is an excellent example of the impact of diet on the survival of mesothelioma. To learn more about her diet and life plan for survival, read her book Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers.
Each mesothelioma patient is different. Patients should consult their physician before changing their diet, especially during treatment of mesothelioma.
"The preclinical work of biologists suggests that the Keto diet has an anti-cancer effect," August 15, 2019, press release from the University of Texas at Dallas, https://www.utdallas.edu/news/research/preclinical -research-suggests-keto- diet-has-anticancer-effect /? WT.mc_id = NewsHomePage
Hsieh, MH, et al, "p63 and SOX2 Dictate Glucose Reliance and Metabolic Vulnerabilities in Squamous Cell Carcinoma," August 13, 2019, Cell Reports, https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247. (19) 30924-6? _ReturnURL = https% 3A% 2F% 2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com% 2Fretrieve% 2Fpii% 2FS2211124719309246% 3Fshowall% 3Dtrue