Could Diet Improve Outcomes in Glioblastoma?

Alan R. Jacobs, MD


May 13, 2016

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This is the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

Researchers from the University of Florida have published a study evaluating a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet in the treatment of glioblastoma brain tumors.[1]

They used human-derived glioblastoma cells in a mouse model. The diet provided just 10% of its calories from carbohydrates and utilized medium-chain triglycerides derived from coconut oil as the main energy source.

The study showed that the modified high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet increased the life expectancy of the mice by 50% compared with the control group, while also reducing tumor progression by a similar amount.

The mechanism of this effect involved both a diminishment of the tumor's energy supply and an alteration of the glioblastoma cellular signaling pathways. Preliminary data have shown that the modified diet appears to make glioblastoma tumors more sensitive to treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. As such, the researchers see the diet as a supplemental therapy to complement chemotherapy and radiation. They plan to test it in other cancers and in clinical trials.

This has been the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.


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