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Scientists have found which diet helps to treat cancer

According to the results of clinical trials, diet, mimics starvation, enhances the effect of the initial stages of chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer. Description of the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Doctors and nutritionists from Italy, the Netherlands and the United States conducted a randomized controlled clinical study of phase 2 of the diet recommended for patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy, which is designated as a first step, even before the operation to stop growth of the tumor.

Diets that mimic fasting (DIG) is a low-calorie diet with the lowered content of proteins and amino acids designed to run metabolic reactions similar to those that occur when fasting on water.

Preclinical data suggested that intermittent fasting and simulation of fasting can protect healthy cells from chemotherapy, while making cancer cells more vulnerable to treatment.

The results of laboratory studies on mice showed that intermittent fasting protects animals against the toxic effects of chemotherapy and increases the effectiveness of treatment. However, clinical trials on real patients has not previously been conducted.

The researchers, led by Judith Kroep (Judith Kroep) from Medical center of Leiden University in the Netherlands in the period from February 2014 to January 2018 watched 131 a patient with breast cancer HER2-negative molecular subtype II and stage III. The group consisted of cancer patients without complicating diseases, primarily diabetes, and obesity.

Observed for three days before and during neoadjuvant chemotherapy adhered to either starvation or DIG-diet, or ate as usual (control group). DIG consisted of soups, vegetable-based, liquid and tea.

Despite the fact that the level of toxicity of the applied chemotherapy in all three groups were similar, patients in first two groups, the treatment efficiency was higher. In addition, the researchers noted they had lower levels of chemotherapy induced DNA damage in T-lymphocytes. No adverse events from the use of a starvation diet, scientists have not found.

The authors conclude that short cycles of fasting or DIG safe and very effective as an aid to oncological patients with early-stage breast cancer.

"Fasting deprives proliferating cancer cells of nutrients, reducing their growth factors. In the end, they are more sensitive to therapy that contributes to their death," write the researchers in the article.

In the future, scientists plan to test whether a diet mimicking starvation, and effective for other forms of cancer in conjunction with traditional treatment.