British Society for Haematology. Listening. Learning. Leading British Society for Haematology. Listening. Learning. Leading
07 November 2018

Obese children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia might benefit from changing to a low-fat diet, according to a US study in mice.

Scientists from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) discovered if they switched obese mice from a high-fat to a low-fat diet immediately before they started vincristine chemotherapy, survival improved dramatically.

The obese mice that were switched to a low-fat diet had a survival rate of 92%, while the obese mice which remained on the high-fat diet had a 17% survival rate. Control non-obese mice fed a low‑fat diet had a survival rate of 42%.

Dr Steven Mittelman, chief of paediatric endocrinology at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and leader of the study, said the findings could eventually lead to a huge benefit for children with acute leukaemia.

“The most exciting thing to me about this study is the fact that this shows that a dietary intervention could potentially help us kill leukaemia cells in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia,” he said.

“The current treatments for leukaemia are very toxic, so finding a way to use a healthy diet, without increasing the toxicity of therapy to treat people with cancer, would be incredible.”

The study, published in the journal Cancer & Metabolism, builds on previous work by Dr Mittelman, which found that obesity made chemotherapy drugs much less effective in children with leukaemia. In that study, obese children with leukaemia relapsed 50% more often than their non‑obese counterparts.

First author Jonathan Tucci, from Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, said: “There are very few things in life you can do for one month that may have such a tremendous potential benefit, especially for your child who has cancer.”

The research team has now begun human trials, starting with a pilot study that tests whether a focused diet and activity intervention can reduce fat gain in children receiving chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.


 

Source: Tucci, J., Alhushki, W., Chen, T., Sheng, X., Kim, Y.-M., Mittelman, S.D. (2018) “Switch to low-fat diet improves outcome of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in obese mice”, Cancer & Metabolism, available at doi: 10.1186/s40170-018-0189-0

 

Disclaimer: The news stories shared on this site are used as a way to inform our members and followers of updates and relevant information happening in Haematology. The BSH does not endorse the content of news items from external sources, and is not in a position to verify the findings, accuracy or the source of any studies mentioned. Any medical or drugs information is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

News service provided by Englemed News http://www.englemed.co.uk/