Perturbations of specific nutrient availability is the basis of a large number of chemotherapeutic modalities used in cancer treatment. The creation of transient nutrient deprivation states by deficient diets (deficiency), nutrient destruction or displacement (depletion), the presence of antimetabolites or analogs (deficiency state), or combinations of the above has shown significant antitumor effect in several animal and human cancers. Pair-fed isocalonic diets deficient in macronutrients such as carbohydrates (with or without gluconeogenesis inhibition) or micronutrients such as zinc or pyridoxine have demonstrated antitumor potential. Amino acid depletion by enzymes such as l-asparaginase or l-glutaminase has become a popular modality for treatment of human leukemias. Purine and pyrimidine analogs or folate antimetabolities have been used successfully for several decades in the treatment of human tumors. Excess pyridoxine in tissue culture has demonstrated antineoplastic potential. Dietetic supplementation with naturally occurring sugars, sugar derivatives, or analogs has also demonstrated tumorotropic effects.


Presented at the Pediatric Cancer and Nutrition Workshop, December 11 and 12, 1980, Bethesda, Md.

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