A high-fiber diet may help treat cancer, study finds

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Dr. Brendan Guercio, an assistant professor at UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute, is spearheading research into the potential of a high-fiber diet to enhance the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapies.

This investigation is crucial as immunotherapy, which trains the immune system to combat cancer, is not uniformly effective for all patients.

The link between gut bacteria and the immune system’s response to cancer is a key focus of this research. Earlier studies, including one involving melanoma patients, have indicated that individuals with a higher fiber intake may respond better to immunotherapy.

This is because gut bacteria, which are significantly influenced by our diet, play a role in how the body responds to these treatments.

Guercio, who specializes in treating genitourinary cancers, is particularly interested in how a high-fiber diet affects patients with bladder or kidney cancer undergoing immunotherapy.

His earlier pilot study revealed a connection between high-fiber diets and improved survival rates in bladder cancer patients receiving immunotherapy.

The study also suggested a similar trend in renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a type of kidney cancer, though further research is needed to confirm this.

Supported by the Interdisciplinary RCC Focus Award from the Kidney Cancer Association, Guercio’s ongoing work involves gathering diet information and biological samples from 120 RCC patients at Wilmot and Memorial Sloan Kettering.

This research aims to determine if dietary fiber impacts the gut bacteria composition and produces short-chain fatty acids, which might boost the immune system’s response to immunotherapy.

Guercio’s research extends to evaluating how a high-fiber diet affects progression-free survival, overall survival, and tumor shrinkage in patients undergoing immunotherapy.

While the preliminary findings are encouraging, Guercio emphasizes that diet should not replace standard therapies. Instead, the goal is to explore how dietary changes can complement existing treatments, potentially making them more effective.

This research represents a promising avenue in cancer treatment, potentially offering a simple yet impactful way to improve patient outcomes in the fight against cancer.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduce cancer death.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about plant nutrient that could help reduce high blood pressure, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The research findings can be found in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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