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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010 Sep;3(9):1124-31. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-10-0071. Epub 2010 Aug 17.

Low-carbohydrate diets and prostate cancer: how low is "low enough"?

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Duke University Medical Center, Box 2626, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Previous studies indicate that carbohydrate intake influences prostate cancer biology, as mice fed a no-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (NCKD) had significantly smaller xenograft tumors and longer survival than mice fed a Western diet. As it is nearly impossible for humans to consume and maintain NCKD, we determined whether diets containing 10% or 20% carbohydrate kcal showed similar tumor growth as NCKD. A total of 150 male severe combined immunodeficient mice were fed a Western diet ad libitum, injected with the human prostate cancer cell line LAPC-4, and then randomized 2 weeks later to one of three arms: NCKD, 10% carbohydrate, or 20% carbohydrate diets. Ten mice not injected were fed an ad libitum low-fat diet (12% fat kcal) serving as the reference in a modified-paired feeding protocol. Mice were sacrificed when tumors reached 1,000 mm(3). Despite consuming extra calories, all mice receiving low-carbohydrate diets were significantly lighter than those receiving a low-fat diet (P < 0.04). Among the low-carbohydrate arms, NCKD-fed mice were significantly lighter than the 10% or 20% carbohydrate groups (P < 0.05). Tumors were significantly larger in the 10% carbohydrate group on days 52 and 59 (P < 0.05), but at no other point during the study. Diet did not affect survival (P = 0.34). There were no differences in serum insulin-like growth factor-I or insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 at sacrifice among the low-carbohydrate arms (P = 0.07 and P = 0.55, respectively). Insulin was significantly lower in the 20% carbohydrate arm (P = 0.03). LAPC-4 xenograft mice fed a low-carbohydrate diet (10-20% carbohydrate kcal) had similar survival as mice consuming NCKD (0% carbohydrate kcal).

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