AUA 2018: Effect of Ketogenic Diet on the Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma Cell Growth

San Francisco, CA USA ( In recent years, lifestyle intervention via diet and exercise has become an increasingly popular prevention and therapy mechanism for patients suffering from diseases known to be exacerbated by metabolic syndromes. In this regard, clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) has been of no exception.

Mr. Maxime Benoit, a medical student from Angers, France, presented on his teams efforts of measuring the effect of ketogenic diet on clear cell renal cell carcinoma cell (ccRCC) growth. More specifically, specific to ccRCC is primary energy production via aerobic glycolysis, rather than oxidative phosphorylation. In this regard, a ketogenic diet could serve to contribute the required energy (via high fat intake) to normal cells, while preferentially starving tumor cells (via low carbohydrate intake).

Mr. Benoit’s team tested a ketogenic diet (KD) on a ccRCC cell line in 15 mice, randomized to 3 feeding groups, with each set of 5 receiving a standard diet, a 2:1 KD, or a 4:1 KD, respectively. During this 8-week study, primary outcomes of tumor growth and blood ketone levels were measured.

During the first week, ketosis was met in both KD groups with average blood ketone levels at 0.86, 1.07, and 1.21 in the standard, KD2:1, and KD4:1, respectively. In this same week, the team observed a significant decrease in tumor growth in the KD groups and, most remarkably, by the end of the 8-week study period, means tumor cell growth across the groups was 351%, 65%, and 66%, despite no difference in final weight.

Overall, the study team does note limitations including small sample size and 100% adherence to the ketogenic diet. While the findings may not be as easily applied to patients with ccRCC, the present study does confirm that a ketogenic diet could slow ccRCC tumor growth. Additionally, since there were no differences between the 2:1 KD and 4:1 KD groups, the transition to these diets may be less difficult than previously thought. While future validation studies are required, the present results highlight benefits of ketogenic diet plans.

Presented by: Maxime Benoit, MD

Written by: Linda My Huynh, Department of Urology, University of California-Irvine at the 2018 AUA Annual Meeting - May 18 - 21, 2018 – San Francisco, CA USA