WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- An international team of biologists suggested that having diet low in sugar might keep certain cancers in check.
The study published on Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports showed that restricting blood glucose levels in mice with a kind of lung cancer kept tumors from progressing.
The team led by scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) fed the mice a ketogenic 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.
They found that the further growth of squamous cell carcinoma tumors in mice with lung cancer was inhibited, although they were not shrunk.
"The key finding of our new study in mice is that a ketogenic diet alone does have some tumor-growth inhibitory effect in squamous cell cancer," said Jung-Whan Kim, the paper's corresponding author and assistant professor of biological sciences at UT Dallas.
The researchers also found a robust correlation between higher blood-glucose concentration and worse survival among patients with squamous cell carcinoma.
However, glucose restriction did not have any effect on non-squamous-cell cancer types, according to the preclinical research.
"Our results suggest that this approach is cancer-cell-type specific. We cannot generalize to all types of cancer," Kim said.
While many types of cancer cells are suspected to be heavily dependent on sugar as their energy supply, Kim's team found that squamous cell carcinoma is remarkably more dependent than other cancer types, according to the study.