Note in Science page
Created May 16 08, Updated Feb 29 12 12:56
Starvation raises success rate of chemotherapy go to comments

Caloric restriction and stress response… again… but this time not “for” aging but as a “magic shield” – chemo boost – against cancer!

Starvation-dependent differential stress resistance protects normal but not cancer cells against high-dose chemotherapy

Starvation induces healthy cells to go into “protective” mode. It looks that cancer cells are not being able to respond to that [my hypothesis: because they have their mitochondria turned off?], and just continue on their normal pro-growth track, leaving them differentially more sensitive to oxydative/chemo stress.

US and Italian researchers found that starvation could potentially boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy used on cancer patients. Mice given a high dose of chemotherapy after fasting continued to thrive. The same dose killed half the normally fed mice! The hyper aggresive chemotherapy worked as intended on cancer, extending the lifespan of mice injected with aggressive human tumors.

(from PNAS article abstract) Short-term starved S. cerevisiae or cells lacking proto-oncogene homologs were up to 1,000 times better protected against oxidative stress or chemotherapy drugs than cells expressing the oncogene homolog Ras2val19. Low-glucose or low-serum media also protected primary glial cells but not six different rat and human glioma and neuroblastoma cancer cell lines against hydrogen peroxide or the chemotherapy drug/pro-oxidant cyclophosphamide. Finally, short-term starvation provided complete protection to mice but not to injected neuroblastoma cells against a high dose of the chemotherapy drug/prooxidant etoposide.

This is not just one more anti-cancer treatment that attacks the cancer cells. There is an important conceptual difference: Here the study focused instead on protecting all the other healthy cells!
This is a very important paper. It defines a novel concept in cancer biology. It’s a direction that’s worth pursuing in clinical trials in humans. said cancer researchers Pinchas Cohen, Felipe Sierra

A new way to fight cancer: the silver shield []

PNAS article [Starvation-dependent differential stress resistance protects normal but not cancer cells against high-dose chemotherapy]

Does FGF21 ‘starvation hormone’ (see FGF21 note) induce the same effect?

p.s. Feb 2012: a nutrient restriction mimetic: Halofuginone

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