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Open Access Brief communication

Drug/diet synergy for managing malignant astrocytoma in mice: 2-deoxy-D-glucose and the restricted ketogenic diet

Jeremy Marsh, Purna Mukherjee and Thomas N Seyfried*

Author Affiliations

Biology Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2008, 5:33  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-5-33

Published: 25 November 2008

Abstract

Background

Astrocytomas are largely dependent on glycolysis to satisfy their bioenergetic requirements for growth and survival. Therapies that target glycolysis can potentially manage astrocytoma growth and progression. Dietary restriction of the high fat/low carbohydrate ketogenic diet (KD-R) reduces glycolysis and is effective in managing experimental mouse and human astrocytomas. The non-metabolizable glucose analogue, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), is a potent glycolytic inhibitor that can mimic effects of energy restriction both in vitro and in vivo, but can also produce adverse effects when administered at doses greater than 200 mg/kg. The goal here was to determine if low doses of 2-DG could act synergistically with the KD-R to better manage growth of the CT-2A malignant mouse astrocytoma.

Methods

The therapeutic effect of a KD-R supplemented with a low dose of 2-DG (25 mg/kg) was examined in adult C57BL/6J mice bearing the syngeneic CT-2A malignant astrocytoma grown orthotopically. Mice were fed the standard unrestricted diet for the first 3 days after tumor implantation prior to their separation into one of four diet groups fed either a standard rodent diet in unrestricted amounts (SD-UR) or a KD-R with or without 2-DG for 10 days. The KD-R was restricted to reduce body weight by about 20%. 2-DG was initiated 6 days after tumor implantation and was continued for 7 days. Brain tumors were excised and weighed.

Results

Energy intake, body weights, and CT-2A tumor weights were similar in the SD-UR and the SD-UR+2-2DG mouse groups over the dietary treatment period (days 3–13). Tumor weights were about 48% and 80% lower in the KD-R and in the KD-R+2-DG groups, respectively, than in the SD-UR group. Mouse health and vitality was better in the KD-R group than in the KD-R+2-DG group.

Conclusion

Astrocytoma growth was reduced more in the KD-R mouse group supplemented with 2-DG than in the mouse groups receiving either dietary restriction or 2-DG alone, indicating a synergistic interaction between the drug and the diet. The results suggest that management of malignant astrocytoma with restricted ketogenic diets could be enhanced when combined with drugs that inhibit glycolysis.