Can changing your diet help fight cancer?

An article published on «Nature» stated that diet can adjust insulin levels and improve the anticancer effect of PI3K. Scientists have found that supply histidine(meat, beans)in mice’s diet can improve the effect of methotrexate chemotherapy on leukemia cells. This study shows that diet has a certain effect on the efficacy of anticancer drugs.

Tumor cells can break down nutrients that support their abnormal growth through a variety of metabolic pathways. Therefore, researchers believe that these metabolic pathways of tumor cells can actually be regarded as potential weaknesses. If these weaknesses are exploited, for example, develop a drug to block one or more of the metabolic pathways to kill tumors, and this drug will not have any effect on most healthy cells.

Last year, Karen Vousden and colleagues found in a study that restricting serine and glycine in the mice’s diet increased the survival rate of mice that are susceptible to cancer.

The study by Sabatini and his colleagues hopes to use the metabolic pathways of cancer cells to submit the efficacy of some anticancer drugs. They screened cancer cells to find genes that react with methotrexate. This gene encodes an enzyme involved in the synthesis of histidine. They found that excessive histidine can make leukemia cells transplanted into mice more sensitive to methotrexate.

Although these successes of scientists are of great benefit to the treatment of cancer, they still face some challenges.

1.Almut Schulze, a cancer researcher at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said that although these new results will play a great role in the fight against cancer through the metabolism in the future. But it is much more difficult to control a person’s diet than it is to control the diet of mice, so the road to new results has a long way to go.

2.Chi Van Dang of the American Cancer Institute believes that it is difficult to judge which patients are beneficial to dietary changes. Because it is difficult to decide which patients to conduct research on, some pharmaceutical companies no longer target cancer metabolism. In addition, the metabolism of an individual is very variable, and people may not respond the same to these therapies.