A reason for intermittent fasting to suppress the awakening of dormant breast tumors

Biosystems. 2015 Jan:127:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2014.11.001. Epub 2014 Nov 4.


For their growth, dormant tumors, which lack angiogenesis may critically depend on gradients of nutrients and oxygen from the nearest blood vessel. Because for oxygen depletion the distance from the nearest blood vessel to depletion will generally be shorter than for glucose depletion, such tumors will contain anoxic living tumor cells. These cells are dangerous, because they are capable of inducing angiogenesis, which will "wake up" the tumor. Anoxic cells are dependent on anaerobic glucose breakdown for ATP generation. The local extracellular glucose concentration gradient is determined by the blood glucose concentration and by consumption by cells closer to the nearest blood vessel. The blood glucose concentration can be lowered by 20-40% during fasting. We calculated that glucose supply to the potentially hazardous anoxic cells can thereby be reduced significantly, resulting in cell death specifically of the anoxic tumor cells. We hypothesize that intermittent fasting will help to reduce the incidence of tumor relapse via reducing the number of anoxic tumor cells and tumor awakening.

Keywords: Anoxia; Cheap cancer treatment; Dormant breast cancer; Fasting; Glucose tissue gradient; Oxygen tissue gradient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / physiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Cell Hypoxia / physiology*
  • Fasting / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / physiopathology*


  • Blood Glucose