Ovarian Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Can Ketogenic Diet Benefit Women With Gynecologic Cancer?

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2018

A ketogenic diet significantly reduced total and visceral fat mass and fasting serum insulin in overweight or obese women with ovarian or endometrial cancer compared with the diet recommended by the American Cancer Society (ACS), reported a study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The results, published in The Journal of Nutrition, warrant further study, perhaps one that begins with such a diet at the time of diagnosis, “so we can better estimate its effects on treatment, prognosis, and survival,” stated Kevin Fontaine, PhD, of the UAB School of Public Health, in an institutional press release.

“Because cancer cells prefer to use glucose, diets that limit glucose may be beneficial,” senior author, Barbara A. Gower, PhD, also of UAB, said in same press release.

Patients with ovarian or endometrial cancer and a body mass index that exceeded 18.5 kg/m2 were randomly assigned to follow either the ketogenic diet (which is low in carbohydrates and high in fat) or the ACS diet (which is moderate to high in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and low in fat). The authors measured body composition, fasting serum insulin, insulin-like growth factor, and β-hydroxybutyrate at baseline and after 12 weeks.

At follow-up, the authors observed a lower adjusted total fat (P < .05) and android fat mass (P < .05) among those on the ketogenic diet group compared with those on the ACS diet. In addition, those who followed the ketogenic diet achieved a 21.2% reduction in visceral fat compared with a 4.6% reduction among those who followed the ACS diet. The adjusted total lean mass did not differ between the two groups.

A significant inverse relationship was found between changes in β-hydroxybutyrate and insulin-like growth factor. A metabolic environment high in serum β-hydroxybutyrate may be inhospitable to cancer proliferation, the authors concluded.

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