Ketogenic Diets May Bolster Chemo for Metastatic Cancer

Ketogenic Diets May Bolster Chemo for Metastatic Cancer

Treating metastatic cancer requires systemic treatment with chemotherapy drugs, which can cause side effects that diminish patients’ quality of life and interfere with their ability to complete the full course of treatment, limiting its benefit. Ketogenic diets (low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets) have been reported to help in treating localized cancers when combined with radiation therapy, but little has been published on treating metastatic disease.

In a paper published online on December 3 in PLOS ONE, Eugene J. Fine, M.D., and Einstein colleagues Yiyu Zou, Ph.D., Alexander Pearlman, Ph.D., Susan Fineberg, M.D., and Richard Feinman, Ph.D., from SUNY Downstate Health Sciences Center, showed that a ketogenic diet enhances the effects of the anti-cancer drug rapamycin when used in a mouse model of metastatic breast cancer. Compared with feeding the mice a standard diet, feeding them a ketogenic diet allowed for reduced doses of rapamycin to be administered while simultaneously enabling them to live as long or longer.

If these results translate to humans they suggest that a ketogenic diet could benefit patients undergoing chemotherapy for metastatic cancer by prolonging survival and reducing chemotherapy’s toxicity. Dr. Fine is professor of radiology at Einstein. Dr. Zou is an associate professor of medicine. Dr. Pearlman is a cancer biologist, and Dr. Fineberg is an associate professor of pathology, all at Einstein.

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