The role of metabolic therapy in treating glioblastoma multiforme

Surg Neurol Int. 2015 Apr 16;6:61. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.155259. eCollection 2015.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive and nearly uniformly fatal malignancy of the central nervous system. Despite extensive research and clinical trials over the past 50 years, very little progress has been made to significantly alter its lethal prognosis. The current standard of care (SOC) includes maximal surgical resection, radiation therapy and chemotherapy and temozolomide (TMZ), including the selective use of glucocorticoids for symptom control. These same treatments, however, have the potential to create an environment that may actually facilitate tumor growth and survival. Research investigating the unique metabolic needs of tumor cells has led to the proposal of a new metabolic treatment for various cancers including GBMs that may enhance the effectiveness of the SOC. The goal of metabolic cancer therapy is to restrict GBM cells of glucose, their main energy substrate. By recognizing the underlying energy production requirements of cancer cells, newly proposed metabolic therapy is being used as an adjunct to standard GBM therapies. This review will discuss the calorie restricted ketogenic diet (CR-KD) as a promising potential adjunctive metabolic therapy for patients with GBMs. The effectiveness of the CR-KD is based on the "Warburg Effect" of cancer metabolism and the microenvironment of GBM tumors. We will review recent case reports, clinical studies, review articles, and animal model research using the CR-KD and explain the principles of the Warburg Effect as it relates to CR-KD and GBMs.

Keywords: Adjunctive cancer therapy; calorie restriction; glioblastoma multiforme; ketogenic diet; metabolic cancer therapy.