Calorie Restriction Could Help Prevent Spreading of an Aggressive Form of Breast Cancer, New Study Reveals


Published Date : May 28, 2014

Scientists have revealed that restricting calories in the diet could help in reducing the chances of spreading one of the most fatal forms of breast cancer - triple negative breast cancer - to other organs. Triple negative form of breast cancer is found to show the least response to majority of standard treatments for cancer of the current time. Every one in five women with breast cancer is found to have affected by this form of cancer.

In a new study that involved mouse models with triple negative form of cancer to be fed with food less than a third of what they normally ate, it was found that the cancer cells reduced production of 17 and 20 groups of microRNAs (miR 17/20), known to be found in abundance in triple negative cancers that metastasize.

According to the study results, it is being estimated that restricting calories leads to epigenetic changes to the cancer cells, making its extracellular wall thick. A strong extracellular wall acts a form of cage for the tumor, thus making it more difficult for the cancerous cells to escape and spread to other body parts.

The most common treatment methods prescribed to cancer patients include hormonal therapy and steroids to offset the effects of chemotherapy.

However, both the methods are known to induce changes in metabolism to the patient’s body, leading to weight gain. Some recent studies have touted that the patients that gain significant weight during their cancer treatments are the most vulnerable to side-effects of the treatments they undergo.  It is this reason why oncologists prescribe a close monitoring of changes to metabolism of patients following cancer treatment.

If calorie restriction really works as effectively in women as it works in the rodents studied by the recent study, then it would have large effects at the outcomes of many cancer treatments and change many lives.