Fasting and its Therapeutic Impact in Brain Tumors


Recent Findings

Each year 40,000 people are diagnosed with primary brain tumors. Malignant gliomas account for more than 50% of them and are universally fatal despite aggressive surgery and combined chemoradiotherapy. Identification of novel therapeutic targets has been challenging. New areas of interest are now focusing on exploiting special metabolic adaptations these tumors have developed in response to the stress caused by their rapid growth rate, exceeding their vascular supply.

Purpose of Review

This article is an attempt to review a controversial strategy of modulating tumor biology by understanding their metabolic characteristics, how they differ from normal healthy cells, and implementing therapies that include nutritional interventions.


Although fasting as part of the management of brain malignancies is controversial and may be contrary to popular opinion, developing supportive evidence in targeting their special metabolic profile is promising and fascinating.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carla Venegas-Borsellino.

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Conflict of interest

Carla Venegas-Borsellino, Sonikpreet, and Neal Bhutiani declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Additional information

This article is part of the Topical collection on Nutrition, Metabolism, and Surgery.

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Venegas-Borsellino, C., Sonikpreet & Bhutiani, N. Fasting and its Therapeutic Impact in Brain Tumors. Curr Surg Rep 6, 12 (2018).

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  • Glioblastoma
  • Brain cancer
  • Fasting
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Caloric restriction
  • Differential stress resistance