Ketogenic diet (KD) is getting in the focus as auxiliary cancer therapy, since it provides sufficient energy supply for healthy cells, while impairing energy production in tumor cells underlying the Warburg effect. Thereby, it can assist in inhibiting tumor growth and simultaneously counteract cachexia, which is frequently observed in cancer patients under chemotherapy. In order to provide molecular evidence for the proposed synergistic inhibition of tumor growth, we applied untargeted quantitative metabolome analysis on a breast cancer xenograft mouse model. Healthy mice and such bearing breast cancer xenografts and receiving chemotherapy were compared after treatment with control diet and KD. Metabolomic profiling was performed on plasma samples, applying high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. Statistical analysis revealed metabolic fingerprints comprising numerous significantly regulated features in the group of mice bearing breast cancer. This fingerprint disappeared after treatment with KD, resulting in recovery to the metabolic status observed in healthy mice receiving control diet. Moreover, amino acid metabolism as well as fatty acid transport were found to be affected by both, the tumor and the applied KD. Our results provide clear evidence of a significant molecular effect of KD in the context of tumor growth inhibition.
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