A new experiment in an animal model suggested that a lower-calorie diet could promote cancer drug treatment.
A group of scientists led by Jean-Ehrland Ricci (French Institute forhealth & Medicalresearch) studied genetically modified mice with developed lymphoma and divided into two groups: a regular diet and a diet, the number of calories in which was reduced by 25%.
After feeding the mice following these two diets for one week, they were divided into four groups for the next ten days: normal diet with experimental cancer treatment, normal diet without treatment, low calorie diet with experimental treatment, diet with reduced calories without cancer treatment.
The experimental treatment, called ABT-737, is a targeted therapy designed to induce cancer cell death.
After ten days of the second phase of the experiment, the treatment and calorie restrictions were lifted so that the mice could consume as much food as they wanted. Lymphoma mice that followed a reduced calorie diet during treatment had a longer survival period.
The results of the experiment showed that neither the reduction in calories nor the treatment alone increased the survival rate of the mice. However, their combination was effective.
In the group of mice that received cancer treatment along with adherence to a diet, with a quarter reduced calories, the survival rate was 41 days, while in the group of normal diet and treatment it reached only 33 days.
The researchers note that the body processes or metabolizes food in order to produce energy and aid in protein synthesis, however, consuming fewer calories decreases the amount of nutrients available to the body’s cells, thus slowing down the metabolism.
In this regard, scientists have proposed a hypothesis that reducing calorie intake can potentially help in inhibiting the overexpression of the Mcl-1 protein, alterations of which are associated with the development of several types of cancer.