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article imageCan dietary changes combat cancer?

By Tim Sandle     May 29, 2014 in Health
A new study suggests that calorie restriction during treatment for breast cancer changes cellular programming and lowers the chance of metastases. This is according to a study carried out using mice.
Breast cancer patients are often treated with hormonal therapy to block tumor growth, and steroids to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy. However, both treatments can cause a patient to have altered metabolism which can lead to weight gain. The new study considers if such treatments can be counter balanced with a calorie reduction.
This is an important point because studies have shown that too much weight makes standard treatments for breast cancer less effective, and those who gain weight during treatment have worse cancer outcomes.
With the mouse study, mice with triple negative cancer were fed 30 percent less than what they ate when given free access to food, a specific type of cancer cells decreased. Researchers have found that this particular cell is often increased in triple negative cancers that metastasize. In scientific terms, calorie restriction seems to promote epigenetic changes in the breast tissue that keep the extracellular matrix strong.
In order to test that this theory is true in humans researchers are currently enrolling patients in the CaReFOR (Calorie Restriction for Oncology Research) trial. As the first trial like it in the U.S., women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer receive nutritional counseling and are guided through their weight loss plan as they undergo their treatment for breast cancer.
The findings have been published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, and the study is called “The metastatic potential of triple-negative breast cancer is decreased via caloric restriction-mediated reduction of the miR-17~92 cluster.”
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