More information on the incredibly complex nature of cancer. Diets which limit tumor growth in animal models did not have the same positive effect on humans in a European pilot study. Diets without enough protein (that provide amino acids) like junk food that have low tyrosine and low phenylalanine were studied…
Advanced cancer is cancer which has spread, or metastasized, and may no longer be responding to treatment. Some cancers, such as brain cancers, are considered advanced cancer even if they haven’t spread. The cancer is not curable at this stage.
There are some treatment options, however, which focus on controlling the cancer and managing cancer symptoms, so the patient can feel as good as possible for as long as possible. Limiting the spread of cancer is one of the goals, including controlling tumor growth.
Low tyrosine and low phenylalanine diets
Researchers M Harvie, I Campbell, et al, with the University Department of Medical Oncology, South Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester, UK, hoped there would be a correlation between the results of an animal trial and a human trial in regards to low tyrosine and low phenylalanine.
A low tyrosine and low phenylalanine diet was successful in limiting tumor growth in animal models. These are both amino acids. Tyrosine is made in the body from phenylalanine, and is crucial to general metabolism. It has a strong antidepressant effect.
The researchers developed a pilot study to test the low tyrosine and low phenylalanine diet, which was offered to human volunteers with advanced cancer. Three patients with metastatic melanoma and three patients with metastatic breast cancer agreed to try the diet for one month.
Results were disappointing. All patients experienced negative side effects. They reported increased levels of anxiety and depression due to the low tyrosine diet. Some patients also lost weight. There was a slight increase in white cell counts, but not significantly.
The researchers concluded that low tyrosine and low phenylalanine diets are not a viable treatment for people with advanced cancer.