Effect of fasting on cancer: A narrative review of scientific evidence

Cancer Sci. 2022 Oct;113(10):3291-3302. doi: 10.1111/cas.15492. Epub 2022 Aug 10.


Emerging evidence suggests that fasting could play a key role in cancer treatment by fostering conditions that limit cancer cells' adaptability, survival, and growth. Fasting could increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments and limit adverse events. Yet, we lack an integrated mechanistic model for how these two complicated systems interact, limiting our ability to understand, prevent, and treat cancer using fasting. Here, we review recent findings at the interface of oncology and fasting metabolism, with an emphasis on human clinical studies of intermittent fasting. We recommend combining prolonged periodic fasting with a standard conventional therapeutic approach to promote cancer-free survival, treatment efficacy and reduce side effects in cancer patients.

Keywords: cancer; diet; fasting; intermittent fasting; oncology; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fasting*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / metabolism