A signalling pathway that influences how sensitive cancer cells are to the beneficial effects of dietary restriction (DR) is described in Nature.
Dietary restriction can extend lifespan, and reduce cancer incidence and growth. But some types of cancer cell are more sensitive to the anti-growth effects of DR than others, Nada Kalaany and David Sabatini report. The effect hinges on the activity of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. If the pathway is active, DR has no effect on cancer cells. However, if the pathway is inactive, tumours are sensitive to DR.
Therapies that mimic the effects of DR are currently being investigated as anti-cancer agents. But as several cancers carry alterations that lead to activation of the PI3K pathway, this study suggests that the approach won?t work in many cases. The findings may help to predict which cancers will respond to DR.
David Sabatini (Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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