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Cell Cycle. 2016 Sep;15(17):2265-74. doi: 10.1080/15384101.2016.1160982. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Caloric restriction coupled with radiation decreases metastatic burden in triple negative breast cancer.

Author information

a Radiation Oncology Department , Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University , Philadelphia , PA , USA.
b Radiation Oncology Branch , National Cancer Institute , Bethesda , MD , USA.
c Department of Pathology , Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University , Philadelphia , PA , USA.
d Radiation Oncology Department , Miami Cancer Institute , Miami , FL , USA.



Metastatic breast cancer is devastating and triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) have a higher propensity for metastasis. Improved local control upfront in this aggressive cancer could potentially decrease its propensity toward metastasis. We sought to determine if using caloric restriction (CR) as a systemic therapy, combined with radiation therapy (IR) to the primary tumor, may impact metastatic disease.


An orthotopic mouse model using a highly metastatic, luciferase-tagged TNBC cell line (4T1), was used to generate palpable tumors. Mice were then treated with CR, IR, and a combination of the two. In vivo imaging was performed for metastatic evaluation. Molecular evaluation of the tumors was performed, generating a mechanistic hypothesis for CR, which was then tested with pertinent pathway inhibition in the model.


CR significantly increased the time to developing metastases, decreased the overall number and volume of lung metastases, and increased survival. CR decreased proliferation, increased apoptosis and globally downregulated the IGF-1R signaling pathway. Adding an IGF-1R/INSR inhibitor to local IR in vivo accomplished a decrease in metastases similar to CR plus IR, demonstrating the importance of the IGF-1R signaling pathway, and underscoring it as a possible mechanism for CR.


CR decreased metastatic burden and therefore may complement cytotoxic therapies being used in the clinical setting for metastatic disease. Downregulation of the IGF-1R pathway, is in part responsible for this response and modulating IGF-1R directly resulted in similar improved progression-free survival. The novel use of CR has the potential to enhance clinical outcomes for patients with metastatic breast cancer.


Caloric restriction; breast cancer; metastases

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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