Ketogenic Diet To Fight Cancer

February 23, 2013 — 4 Comments

Ketogenic Diet To Fight Cancer


Oncology Team,

Can the hospital recommend a dietary plan at the hospital for new cancer patients in addition to the current standard of care & clinical protocols since diet is not mentioned as part of most protocols? In this way, you are not deviating from standard protocols, just supporting healthy long term patient education on how to feed the body, not the cancer.Please read this and then consider the current standard care advice / plan of “have patients eat whatever they will eat on the hospital menu” in hospital after brain tumor resection surgery, radiation and beyond” versus the hospital designing, informing and offering a high good fat and low carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet” along with healthy dietary guidance for cancer patients under your care.

Could the hospital bring in a nutritionalist to offer such a diet and education opportunity to patients that otherwise are unaware of the benefits of feeding the body the right foods during this critical time, thus give the best chance for survival and good health? Does the hospital already offer Ketogenic type diets to epilepsy patients, thus this may be already a supported protocol?

I believe an education to the possible benefits be discussed with patient families and give families the opportunity to make an informed decision of ways in addition to radiation and chemotherapy that could significantly contribute to a positive outcome while showing no known side effects?  Then, discuss the potential benefits around reduction in tumor size, lower chance of seizures, potential reductions in aggressiveness of the cancers and improved responsiveness of chemo and radiation?

Can you identify any obvious harm a Ketogenic Diet would cause under these circumstances?

In my research, it is consistently considered healthy, just difficult to follow in today’s fast food society. But in a hospital setting, this could be controlled and more easily followed as a supplied diet by the hospital.

Hospital nutritional guidance & education should become a standard practice teaching families how to make healthier home dietary choices in preparation for their loved ones returning into a healthier nutritional environment, tailored to fight cancer long term.

I can find considerable more research on this topic that all show success by adding an appropriate diet and management of glucose having significant positive outcome in overall survival beyond standard of care, today’s chemo & radiation protocols and acute responses to treatment side effects.

I believe hospitals lack of dietary planning and appropriate diet protocol and lack of dietary education post hospital release is contributing to treatment failure.

Appreciate you listening,

Gary “Ayden’s Dad”

The Efficacy of Ketogenic Diet and Associated Hypoglycemia as an Adjuvant Therapy for High-Grade Gliomas: A Review of the Literature

Worthy experts on Ketogenic diets and Cancer – Keep reading and look at the attachment for further detail.
“Of the mice that were fed a ketogenic diet and received radiation, nine of 11 survived with no signs of tumor recurrence, even after being switched back to standard food, for over 200 days. None on the standard diet mice survived more than 33 days.”

“These findings in animal models and in brain cancer patients indicate that tumor growth rate and prognosis is dependent to a significant extent on circulating glucose levels. Glucose is the prime fuel for glycolysis, which drives growth of most brain cancers.”

“There is a direct correlation to the level of glucose in the brain and tumor size & weight”

“The failure to recognize brain cancer as a disease of energy metabolism has contributed in large part to the failure in management. As long as brain tumor cells have access to glucose and glutamine, the disease will progress. The current standard of care provides brain tumors with access to glucose and glutamine. The high fat low carbohydrate ketogenic diet (KD) will target glucose availability and possibly that of glutamine when administered in carefully restricted amounts to reduce total caloric intake and circulating levels of glucose. The restricted KD (RKD) targets major signaling pathways associated with glucose and glutamine metabolism including the IGF-1/PI3K/Akt/Hif pathway. The RKD is anti-angiogenic, anti-invasive, anti-inflammatory, and pro-apoptotic when evaluated in mice with malignant brain cancer. The therapeutic efficacy of the restricted KD can be enhanced when combined with drugs that also target glucose and glutamine. Therapeutic efficacy of the RKD was also seen against malignant gliomas in human case reports. Hence, the RKD can be an effective non-toxic therapeutic option to the current standard of care for inhibiting the growth and invasive properties of malignant brain cancer. ”

“It is now recognized that glucose and glutamine are the prime metabolic fuels for driving the growth of malignant tumors including brain tumors.”

“ready access to glucose and glutamine will accelerate tumor growth thus enhancing the probability of recurrence and reduced progression free survival.”

“Neurotoxicity from mechan- ical trauma (surgery), radiotherapy, and chemotherapy can also increase extracellular levels of glutamate contribut- ing further to tumor progression”

“It is well documented that radiation and chemotherapies induce necrosis and inflammation, both of which phenomena will increase tissue glutamate levels”

“In the presence of dead or dying neurons, however, surviving tumor cells and tumor-associated macrophages/monocytes will use astrocyte-derived glutamine for their energy and growth. Radiation damage to tumor cell mitochondria will hasten a dependence on glucose and glutamine for growth and survival.”

“It is well documented that dexamethasone significantly elevates blood glucose levels”

“astrocytoma was directly dependent on blood glucose levels. The higher the glucose levels, the faster the tumors grew. As glucose levels fall, tumor size and growth rate falls. Hyperglycemia not only contributes to rapid tumor cell growth, but also enhances white matter damage in patients receiving radiation therapy.

“Access to glucose and glutamine within the tumor microenvironment will create an escalating situation of biological chaos where the intrinsic properties of tumor-associated macrophages/monocytes to heal wounds will enhance the capacity of neoplastic brain tumor cells to proliferate, invade, and self-renew”

“Although the existing standard of care for malignant brain cancer will increase patient survival over the short term (months) compared to the ‘‘no therapy’’ option, we sug- gest that this therapeutic strategy will eventually accelerate the energy metabolism of surviving tumor cells. Moreover, the malignant phenotype of brain tumor cells that sur- vive radiotherapy is often greater than that of the cells from the original tumor (Kargiotis et al., 2010). Treatments that increase tumor energy metabolism will facilitate tumor cell growth and survival, thus decrease long-term patient survival.”

“How the standard of care can accelerate brain tumor growth and recurrence. GBM and other high-grade brain tumors consist of multiple neoplastic cell types as well as
tumor-associated macrophages/monocytes, which release pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic factors. All these cells will use glucose and glutamine (Gln) as major metabolic fuels for their growth and survival. Increased glutamate (Glu) concentrations will arise after radiation/drug-induced necrosis. Reactive astrocytes (RA) take up and metabolize glutamate to glutamine, whereas hyperglycemia will arise after corticosteroid (dexamethasone) therapy. Together, these standard treatments will provide an environment that facilitates tumor cell growth, survival, and the likelihood of tumor recurrence.”

“Restricted diets are those that deliver fewer total calories in order to lower circulating glu- cose levels. Nebeling and co-workers first showed that the KD was an effective non-toxic management for advanced stage astrocytoma in children”

“Ketone bodies (b-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate) become an alternative fuel for brain energy metabolism when glucose levels are reduced” “Ketone bodies have known neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory action against a number of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases” “Unlike normal brain cells, many tumor cells cannot metabolize ketone bodies for energy due to their various mitochondrial and genetic defects”

“Calorie restriction targets nuclear factor B (NF-B) and is anti-inflammatory
Phosphorylation and activation of NF-B results in the transactivation of many genes including those encod- ing cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2) and allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1), both of which are primarily expressed by inflammatory and malignant cancer cells within the tumor microenvironment.”

Researchers Successfully Destroy Brain Tumor Cells; Use Unique Combination of Diet and Radiation Therapy

Dec. 3, 2012 — A team of brain cancer researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center has effectively treated brain tumor cells using a unique combination of diet and radiation therapy.

The study, “The Ketogenic Diet Is an Effective Adjuvant to Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Malignant Glioma,” was published in PLOS ONE.

Led by Adrienne C. Scheck, PhD, Principal Investigator in Neuro-Oncology and Neurosurgery Research at Barrow, the groundbreaking research studied the effects of the ketogenic diet in conjunction with radiation therapy for the treatment of malignant gliomas, an aggressive and deadly type of brain tumor. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that alters metabolism and is used in the treatment of pediatric epilepsy that does not respond to conventional therapies. The diet’s effects on brain homeostasis have potential for the treatment of other neurological diseases, as well.

In the study, mice with high-level malignant gliomas were maintained on either a standard or a ketogenic diet. Both groups received radiation therapy. Dr. Scheck’s team discovered that animals fed a ketogenic diet had an increased median survival of approximately five days relative to animals maintained on a standard diet. Of the mice that were fed a ketogenic diet and received radiation, nine of 11 survived with no signs of tumor recurrence, even after being switched back to standard food, for over 200 days. None on the standard diet survived more than 33 days.

One theory behind the success of the treatment is that the ketogenic diet may reduce growth factor stimulation, inhibiting tumor growth. Barrow scientists also believe that it may reduce inflammation and edema surrounding the tumors. This is believed to be the first study of its kind to look at the effects of the ketogenic diet with radiation.

Dr. Scheck believes that the study has promising implications in the treatment of human malignant gliomas. “We found that the ketogenic diet significantly enhances the anti-tumor effect of radiation, which suggests that it may be useful as an adjuvant to the current standard of care for the treatment of human malignant gliomas,” she says.

Dr. Scheck adds that the ketogenic diet could quickly and easily be added into current brain tumor treatment plans as an adjuvant therapy without the need for FDA approval. She is currently exploring options for clinical trials.

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Journal Reference:

Mohammed G. Abdelwahab, Kathryn E. Fenton, Mark C. Preul, Jong M. Rho, Andrew Lynch, Phillip Stafford, Adrienne C. Scheck. The Ketogenic Diet Is an Effective Adjuvant to Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Malignant Glioma. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (5): e36197 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036197


4 responses to Ketogenic Diet To Fight Cancer

    The Anti-Cancer Club April 16, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Your story is incredibly moving and I’m very sorry for your son. If you’d like to share any aspect of your story on our blog, we’d welcome your thoughts and insights. Please feel free to contact me at anticancer
    Pat Wetzel
    Founder and Member
    Anti-Cancer Club


    Thanks for the information
    I will definitely take it into consideration with my daughter diet.


    hi there, thanks for your webpage.. you and your family are amazing. My mum has grade four GBM and we have just put her on the ketogenic diet… but she has to stay on the Dexamethasone which has increased her appetite as well as elevated her glucose levels… hard one as we need her on it to stop the swelling of the tumour but it essentially undermines what we are trying to do with the ketogenic diet… any suggestions?


      Steroids are truly a necessary evil. They alter personalities often driving angry outbursts. Cause insatiable hunger and they cause the T4 immune cells to function poorly damaging the immune system at a poor time.

      As for the Ketogenic diet, hunger doesn’t have to be a problem. It’s restriction of carbs, not necessarily fat. More about finding foods she likes that aren’t so high in carbs. I have contacts that specialize more specifically in children’s cancers and Ketogenic diets. Likely you would learn more since brain tumor kids have these same issues. The group has a page on Facebook called Maxloves Fierce Foodies. Their son has had GBM and along with treatment his Ketogenic diet dropped the aggressiveness level of his tumors. He’s 4 years out and stable. Try to find the page. If you have issues, find me on Facebook and I’ll connect you. Gary Elsasser from Coto de Casa, Ca.

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