Past research has shown that dietary methionine restriction (MR) improves healthspan in part by reducing fat and increasing insulin sensitivity in rodent models. OFAS Senior Scientist Julie Hens, PhD, lead her team in a study to determine whether MR slows down tumor progression in xenograft breast cancer mouse model and breast cancer cell lines. There were two groups of mice, those on an MR diet (0.12% methionine content) and those on a control-fed (CF) diet (0.86% methionine content). The mice on the MR diet not only had reduced weights and less fat, but also had smaller tumors compared to those that were on the CF diet. The MR mice showed a decrease in proliferation and an increase in apoptosis in cells that comprise the mammary glands and xenograft tumors, thus providing evidence that MR can hinder cancer progression by affecting the cell cycle.

In a clinical setting, if MR can delay the progression of cancer, this would provide more time for current cancer therapies to work, and this could provide a more optimistic and healthier outlook for cancer patients.

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