Growth of Human Colon Cancer Cells in Nude Mice is Delayed by Ketogenic Diet With or Without Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Medium-chain Triglycerides

  • Hao, Guang-Wei (Department General Surgery, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University) ;
  • Chen, Yu-Sheng (Department General Surgery, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University) ;
  • He, De-Ming (Department Pathology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University) ;
  • Wang, Hai-Yu (Department General Surgery, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University) ;
  • Wu, Guo-Hao (Department General Surgery, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University) ;
  • Zhang, Bo (Department General Surgery, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University)
  • Published : 2015.03.18


Background: Tumors are largely unable to metabolize ketone bodies for energy due to various deficiencies in one or both of the key mitochondrial enzymes, which may provide a rationale for therapeutic strategies that inhibit tumor growth by administration of a ketogenic diet with average protein but low in carbohydrates and high in fat. Materials and Methods: Thirty-six male BALB/C nude mice were injected subcutaneously with tumor cells of the colon cancer cell line HCT116. The animals were then randomly split into three feeding groups and fed either a ketogenic diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and MCT (MKD group; n=12) or lard only (LKD group; n=12) or a standard diet (SD group; n=12) ad libitum. Experiments were ended upon attainment of the target tumor volume of $600mm^3$ to $700mm^3$. The three diets were compared for tumor growth and survival time (interval between tumor cell injection and attainment of target tumor volume). Results: The tumor growth in the MKD and LKD groups was significantly delayed compared to that in the SD group. Conclusions: Application of an unrestricted ketogenic diet delayed tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model. Further studies are needed to address the mechanism of this diet intervention and the impact on other tumor-relevant parameters such as invasion and metastasis.


Ketogenic diet;colon cancer;${\omega}$-3 fatty acids;MCT;lard


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