Cyclic fasting or fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) may modulate systemic metabolism and boost antitumor immunity in cancer patients, according to a study published online Nov. 17 in Cancer Discovery.
Claudio Vernieri, M.D., Ph.D., from the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan, Italy, and colleagues conducted a clinical trial to examine the safety and biological effects of cyclic, five-day FMD combined with standard antitumor therapies in 101 patients.
The researchers found that the FMD was well tolerated and feasible. The FMD resulted in a consistent decrease in blood glucose and growth factor concentration, consistent with metabolic changes seen in preclinical experiments. The FMD reshaped anticancer immunity by inducing contraction of peripheral blood immunosuppressive myeloid and regulatory T-cell compartments; in addition, T-helper 1/cytotoxic responses were enhanced, and there was enrichment of interferon-gamma and other immune signatures associated with better clinical outcomes in cancer patients.
“Since calorie restriction is a safe, inexpensive, and potentially effective approach that could be easily combined with standard antineoplastic therapies, we think these findings might have relevant implications for cancer therapy,” Vernieri said in a statement.
Three authors were inventors of the FMD regimen that was investigated in this study; one author had equity interest in L-Nutra, which develops medical foods.
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