Fasting before Chemotherapy.

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  Over the years, my patients have reported to me with a mixture of astonishment distain and anger that their oncologist and his or her well-intended but uninformed dietician staff encourage them to eat cookies and donughts or other sweets before and after chemotherapy or radiation treatments extorting ”  Any calorie is a good calorie.”  My patients know better.  Not only are they refusing conventional cancer treatments opting for Corrective Cancer Care but if they are accepting chemotherapy, they have chosen to receive immune-enhancement IPT  (low dose targeted  insulin-potentiated chemotherapy) and they are fasting prior to treatments. Fasting?  Yup…  If this surprises you, read on…  



Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jun 17;105(24):8215-20. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0708100105. Epub 2008 Mar 31.

Starvation-dependent differential stress resistance protects normal but not cancer cells against high-dose chemotherapy.


Strategies to treat cancer have focused primarily on the killing of tumor cells. Here, we describe a differential stress resistance (DSR) method that focuses instead on protecting the organism but not cancer cells against chemotherapy. Short-term starved S. cerevisiae or cells lacking proto-oncogene homologs were up to 1,000 times better protected against oxidative stress or chemotherapy drugs than cells expressing the oncogene homolog Ras2(val19). Low-glucose or low-serum media also protected primary glial cells but not six different rat and human glioma and neuroblastoma cancer cell lines against hydrogen peroxide or the chemotherapy drug/pro-oxidant cyclophosphamide. Finally, short-term starvation provided complete protection to mice but not to injected neuroblastoma cells against a high dose of the chemotherapy drug/pro-oxidant etoposide. These studies describe a starvation-based DSR strategy to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and suggest that specific agents among those that promote oxidative stress and DNA damage have the potential to maximize the differential toxicity to normal and cancer cells.

See also:

Could starvation minimize chemotherapy-induced toxicities? [Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2008]

See also:

Sci Transl Med. 2012 Mar 7;4(124):124ra27. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003293. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

Fasting cycles retard growth of tumors and sensitize a range of cancer cell types to chemotherapy.


Short-term starvation (or fasting) protects normal cells, mice, and potentially humans from the harmful side effects of a variety of chemotherapy drugs. Here, we show that treatment with starvation conditions sensitized yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) expressing the oncogene-like RAS2(val19) to oxidative stress and 15 of 17 mammalian cancer cell lines to chemotherapeutic agents. Cycles of starvation were as effective as chemotherapeutic agents in delaying progression of different tumors and increased the effectiveness of these drugs against melanoma, glioma, and breast cancer cells. In mouse models of neuroblastoma, fasting cycles plus chemotherapy drugs–but not either treatment alone–resulted in long-term cancer-free survival. In 4T1 breast cancer cells, short-term starvation resulted in increased phosphorylation of the stress-sensitizing Akt and S6 kinases, increased oxidative stress, caspase-3 cleavage, DNA damage, and apoptosis. These studies suggest that multiple cycles of fasting promote differential stress sensitization in a wide range of tumors and could potentially replace or augment the efficacy of certain chemotherapy drugs in the treatment of various cancers.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *