Low-carbohydrate diets and prostate cancer: How low is "low enough"?

Elizabeth M. Masko, Jean A. Thomas, Jodi A. Antonelli, Jessica C. Lloyd, Tameika E. Phillips, Susan H. Poulton, Mark W. Dewhirst, Salvatore V. Pizzo, Stephen J. Freedland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Previous studies indicate that carbohydrate intake influences prostate cancer biology, as mice fed a no-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (NCKD) had significantly smaller xenograft tumors and longer survival than mice fed a Western diet. As it is nearly impossible for humans to consume and maintain NCKD, we determined whether diets containing 10% or 20% carbohydrate kcal showed similar tumor growth as NCKD. A total of 150 male severe combined immunodeficient mice were fed a Western diet ad libitum, injected with the human prostate cancer cell line LAPC-4, and then randomized 2 weeks later to one of three arms: NCKD, 10% carbohydrate, or 20% carbohydrate diets. Ten mice not injected were fed an ad libitum low-fat diet (12% fat kcal) serving as the reference in a modified-paired feeding protocol. Mice were sacrificed when tumors reached 1,000 mm3. Despite consuming extra calories, all mice receiving low-carbohydrate diets were significantly lighter than those receiving a low-fat diet (P < 0.04). Among the low-carbohydrate arms, NCKD-fed mice were significantly lighter than the 10% or 20% carbohydrate groups (P < 0.05). Tumors were significantly larger in the 10% carbohydrate group on days 52 and 59 (P < 0.05), but at no other point during the study. Diet did not affect survival (P = 0.34). There were no differences in serum insulin-like growth factor-I or insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 at sacrifice among the low-carbohydrate arms (P = 0.07 and P = 0.55, respectively). Insulin was significantly lower in the 20% carbohydrate arm (P = 0.03). LAPC-4 xenograft mice fed a low-carbohydrate diet (10-20% carbohydrate kcal) had similar survival as mice consuming NCKD (0% carbohydrate kcal).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1124-1131
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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