Keto diet alone may help protect against lung cancer, new study shows

In a new study, researchers found restricting blood glucose levels might also keep certain cancers at bay.

The found the keto diet alone could help protect against a type of lung cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

The research was led by biologists at The University of Texas at Dallas.

It’s well known that keeping blood glucose levels in check can help people avoid or manage diabetes.

In addition, many types of cancer cells are suspected to be heavily dependent on glucose—or sugar—as their energy supply.

Previous research has shown one specific type of lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma is remarkably more dependent than other cancer types.

In the study, the team restricted circulating glucose in mice with this type of lung cancer.

Circulating glucose restriction was achieved by feeding the mice a keto diet, which is very low in sugar, and by giving them a diabetes drug that prevents glucose in the blood from being reabsorbed by the kidneys.

The team found both the keto diet and the pharmacological restriction of blood glucose by themselves inhibited the further growth of squamous cell carcinoma tumors.

While these interventions did not shrink the tumors, they did keep them from progressing, which suggests this type of cancer might be vulnerable to glucose restriction.

The team says the key finding of the new study is that a keto diet alone does have some tumor-growth inhibitory effect in squamous cell cancer.

When the researchers combined this diet with the diabetes drug and chemotherapy, it was even more effective.

The team noted that glucose restriction did not have any effect on non-squamous-cell cancer types.

The researchers also examined glucose levels in blood samples from 192 patients who had either lung or esophageal squamous cell cancer, as well as 120 patients with lung adenocarcinoma.

The blood samples were taken at random parts of the day and classified into those containing glucose concentrations higher or lower than 120 mg/dL, which is one clinical measure of diabetes.

None of the patients had been diagnosed with diabetes.

The team found a robust correlation between higher blood-glucose concentration and worse survival among patients with squamous cell carcinoma.

No such correlation was found among the lung adenocarcinoma patients.

The team says this is an important observation that further implicates the potential efficacy of glucose restriction in attenuating squamous-cell cancer growth.

They suggest manipulating glucose levels would be a new strategy that is different from just trying to kill cancer cells directly.

The lead author of the study is Dr. Jung-Whan “Jay” Kim, an assistant professor of biological sciences at UT Dallas.

The study is published in the journal Cell Reports.

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