How diet could stop triple negative breast cancer from spreading uncovered
Research suggests it could be possible to stop the spread of breast cancer by consuming fewer calories Investigators from Thomas Jefferson University found calorie restriction that is touted to help extend lifespan could also lead to better outcomes for women battling triple negative breast cancer that is the most aggressive form of the disease.
Thirty percent fewer calories stops aggressive breast cancer from spreading
Senior author Nicole Simone, M.D., an associate professor in the department of Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University and colleagues found mice given 30 percent fewer calories were protected from breast cancer spread.
“The diet turned on a epigenetic program that protected mice from metastatic disease,” Simone explained in a press release. Taking in fewer calories decreased production of microRNAs 17 and 20 (miR 17/20) that are often increased in triple negative breast cancer that spreads to other parts of the body.
One of the problems with breast cancer treatment that aims to suppress production of the microRNAs is weight gain from estrogen blockers such as Tamoxifen and from steroids that are often used to treat chemotherapy side effects. According to the authors women gain and average of 10 pounds during the first year of breast cancer treatment, making therapy less effective.
Finding ways to halt progression of the disease is important. Limiting calorie intake during treatment keeps the matrix outside of the body’s cells stronger to stop tumors from spreading.
“A strong matrix creates a sort of cage around the tumor, making it more difficult for cancer cells to escape and spread to new sites in the body” Simone said.
The current study expands on past research conducted by Simone showing calorie restriction boosts the ability of radiation to kill breast cancer tumors. With this study the scientists determined the molecular pathways involved.
Simone said the finding shows the importance of looking at metabolism for treating breast cancer.
Studies suggest calorie restriction as a lifestyle approach for cancer prevention. and for improving outcomes for brain and prostate cancer.
Proponents of calorie restriction say adopting such a diet can extend life and delay aging.
Simone points out that it is theoretically possible to develop drugs that interrupt production of microRNAs associated with aggressive breast cancer. But targeting the exact molecular pathway is unlikely to be as effective as calorie restriction. Dr. Simone is currently enrolling women undergoing breast cancer treatment in a first trial of its kind to help women undergoing treatment lose weight. The program, CaReFOR (Calorie Restriction for Oncology Research) trial includes nutritional guidance and weight loss counseling.