Fasting renders immunotherapy effective against low-immunogenic breast cancer while reducing side effects

Cell Rep. 2022 Aug 23;40(8):111256. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.111256.


Immunotherapy is improving the prognosis and survival of cancer patients, but despite encouraging outcomes in different cancers, the majority of tumors are resistant to it, and the immunotherapy combinations are often accompanied by severe side effects. Here, we show that a periodic fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) can act on the tumor microenvironment and increase the efficacy of immunotherapy (anti-PD-L1 and anti-OX40) against the poorly immunogenic triple-negative breast tumors (TNBCs) by expanding early exhausted effector T cells, switching the cancer metabolism from glycolytic to respiratory, and reducing collagen deposition. Furthermore, FMD reduces the occurrence of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) by preventing the hyperactivation of the immune response. These results indicate that FMD cycles have the potential to enhance the efficacy of anti-cancer immune responses, expand the portion of tumors sensitive to immunotherapy, and reduce its side effects.

Keywords: CP: Cancer; CP: Immunology; differential stress sensitization; fasting; fasting-mimicking diet; immunotherapy; inflammation; nutrition; side effects; triple-negative breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • B7-H1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Fasting*
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / adverse effects
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • B7-H1 Antigen