Cancer therapies may include a dietary recommendation — consume asparagus, potatoes and seafood.
All are among foods with high levels of asparagine, an amino acid researchers suggest is associated with spreading cancer.
A study of Laboratory mice found lowering levels of asparagine “dramatically” reduced the spread of triple-negative breast cancer.
The researchers, who published their work Wednesday in the journal Nature, used a number of approaches to decrease asparagine levels in the mice, including modifications to their diets.
Cancer disperse more when the mice were awarded asparagine-rich foods, which include milk, beef, poultry, eggs, seeds, nuts and whole grains, amongst others. Vegetables and fruits contain low levels of asparagine.
Cedars-Sinai Hospital’s Simon Knott, an author in the study, said the study adds to mounting evidence a person’s diet “can influence the course of the disorder.” He said should the discovering be made in humans, curbing asparagine intake might assist with cancer therapy, and not simply in breast cancer.
Researchers have laid out a two-pronged approach moving forward: Discover whether a diet that was low-asparagine reduces levels in patients test the procedure in cancer patients.
“The study results are extremely significant which changes in diet may impact both how an individual reacts to primary therapy and their chances of deadly disease spreading later in life,” said study senior author Gregory J. Hannon, director of Britain’s Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute in the University of Cambridge.