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Success of Ketogenic Diet for Glioblastoma

Posted by Geoff Beaty on 22 June 2021
Success of Ketogenic Diet for Glioblastoma
Could a ketogenic diet for cancer prove beneficial? In this n=1 case study, a British man rejected the standard of care to treat his terminal brain cancer. After adopting a ketogenic diet in 2014, his typically fatal glioblastoma tumor grew at a very slow rate.

It is known that GBM is similar to most other malignant cancers in that is needs glucose and glutamine for growth, regardless of histological or genetic heterogeneity. A ketogenic metabolic therapy (KMT) is a nutritional intervention for cancer management that this 32-year-old man employed after he experienced seizures and a right frontal lobe tumor on MRI.

Published recently in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, the report evaluated the use of ketogenic diet for cancer or ketogenic metabolic therapy (KMT) without chemo or radiation interventions, on a patient diagnosed with IDH1-mutant glioblastoma (GBM). In this particular case, the patient's tumor contained a mutation, known as the IDH1. This mutation is acquired by chance and is known to improve overall survival. So the findings are particularly relevant to other patients whose tumors contain this mutation, according to Boston College Professor of Biology Thomas Seyfried, a co-author of the report and a leading researcher who has long advocated the benefits of KMT to treat disease.

"As GBM, like most malignant cancers, is dependent on fermentation for energy synthesis and survival, the simultaneous restriction of fermentable fuels, such as glucose and glutamine, while elevating non-fermentable ketone bodies, offers a non-toxic therapeutic strategy for managing GBM," said Seyfried. "Further studies will be needed to test this hypothesis in other patients diagnosed with GBM."

The researchers found "the patient's tumor continued to grow very slowly over a three-year period without expected vasogenic edema until 2017," according to Seyfried and his co-authors, Boston College researcher Purna Mukherjee, Aditya Shivane, MD, of University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust, in the United Kingdom, U.S.-based nutritionist Miriam Kalamian, Joseph Maroon, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, and Giulio Zuccoli, MD, of the Drexel University School of Medicine

At that point, the patient underwent "surgical debulking" of his tumor. The pathology specimen confirmed the diagnosis of GBM and that the patient's tumor also contained the IDH1 mutation.

"Following surgery, the patient continued with a self-administered ketogenic diet to maintain low Glucose Ketone Index (GKI) values, indicative of therapeutic ketosis," the researchers report. "In light of continued slow progression of the residual tumour, the patient intensified his KMT starting in October, 2018 with inclusion of mindfulness techniques to reduce stress. While Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) shows slow interval tumor progression, the patient remains alive with a good quality of life at the time of this report." He is now at 82 months from original diagnosis.

Only an appropriate ketogenic diet  can work synergistically with the IDH1 mutation to simultaneously target the two major metabolic pathways needed to drive the growth of GBM. Glucose drives the glycolysis pathway, while glutamine drives the glutaminolysis pathway. 

Interested? Ask us for a personalised and detailed ketogenic diet and 7-days menu plan.

Author:Geoff Beaty
Tags:NewsEvidence Based ResearchDiets & RecipesCancer

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