Effect of intermittent fasting on prostate cancer tumor growth in a mouse model

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2010 Dec;13(4):350-5. doi: 10.1038/pcan.2010.24. Epub 2010 Aug 24.


Caloric restriction (CR) has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. However, CR may be difficult to apply in humans secondary to compliance and potentially deleterious effects. An alternative is intermittent CR, or in the extreme case intermittent fasting (IF). In a previous small pilot study, we found 2 days per week of IF with ad libitum feeding on the other days resulted in trends toward prolonged survival of mice bearing prostate cancer xenografts. We sought to confirm these findings in a larger study. A total of 100 (7- to 8-week-old) male severe combined immunodeficiency mice were injected subcutaneously with 1 × 10(5) LAPC-4 prostate cancer cells. Mice were randomized to either ad libitum Western Diet (44% carbohydrates, 40% fat and 16% protein) or ad libitum Western Diet with twice-weekly 24 h fasts (IF). Tumor volumes and mouse bodyweights were measured twice weekly. Mice were killed when tumor volumes reached 1000 mm(3). Serum and tumor were collected for analysis of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) hormonal axis. Overall, there was no difference in mouse survival (P=0.37) or tumor volumes (P ≥ 0.10) between groups. Mouse body weights were similar between arms (P=0.84). IF mice had significantly higher serum IGF-1 levels and IGF-1/IGFBP-3 ratios at killing (P<0.001). However, no difference was observed in serum insulin, IGFBP-3 or tumor phospho-Akt levels (P ≥ 0.39). IF did not improve mouse survival nor did it delay prostate tumor growth. This may be secondary to metabolic adaptations to the 24 h fasting periods. Future studies are required to optimize CR for application in humans.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Carcinoma / diet therapy*
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fasting / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Periodicity
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tumor Burden
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays