Study Shows Reducing Caloric Intake May Improve Response to Some Cancer Treatments

A new French study examines how what you eat and how much you eat during cancer treatments may determine how successful your treatment might be, especially where so-called targeted cancer therapies are concerned.

The study, with results published this week in an online version of Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), was conducted by the French Institute for Health and Medical Research in Nice, France. It was one of just a handful that have sought to study how caloric intake affects cell death during treatments.

“While we know that consuming excess calories is associated with increased cancer risk, far less clarity exists in the scientific literature about how calorie restriction and the body’s metabolism can potentially affect the body’s response to cancer treatment,” said lead study author Jean-Ehrland Ricci, PhD, of the French Institute for Health and Medical Research in Nice, France. “By understanding the link between metabolism and the body’s natural cancer suppressors and activators, we can perhaps improve the efficacy of therapy and improve survival for patients suffering from specific types of cancer.”

“When humans and animals consume calories,” the study explains, “the body metabolizes food to produce energy and assist in the building of proteins. When fewer calories are consumed, the amount of nutrients available to the body’s cells is reduced, slowing the metabolic process and limiting the function of some proteins.”

“These characteristics of calorie restriction have led researchers to hypothesize that reducing caloric intake could potentially help inhibit the overexpression of the protein Mcl-1, an alteration associated with several cancers.”

Targeted therapies are becoming increasingly popular in the realm of cancer treatment, with these therapies being used to treat a variety of types of the disease. Researchers strive to continue to understand how to make these treatments even more effective and studies like the one completed in France provide even more hope for patients stricken with cancer, including rare types such as mesothelioma.

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