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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Calorie restriction and cancer prevention: a mechanistic perspective

Stephen D Hursting12*, Sarah M Dunlap1, Nikki A Ford1, Marcie J Hursting3 and Laura M Lashinger12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nutritional Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1400 Barbara Jordan Blvd, DPRI 2.834, Austin, TX, 78723, USA

2 Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis, The University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center, Smithville, TX, USA

3 Clinical Science Consulting, Austin, TX, USA

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Cancer & Metabolism 2013, 1:10  doi:10.1186/2049-3002-1-10

Published: 7 March 2013

Abstract

Calorie restriction (CR) is one of the most potent broadly acting dietary interventions for inducing weight loss and for inhibiting cancer in experimental models. Translation of the mechanistic lessons learned from research on CR to cancer prevention strategies in human beings is important given the high prevalence of excess energy intake, obesity, and metabolic syndrome in many parts of the world and the established links between obesity-associated metabolic perturbations and increased risk or progression of many types of cancer. This review synthesizes findings on the biological mechanisms underlying many of the anticancer effects of CR, with emphasis on the impact of CR on growth factor signaling pathways, inflammation, cellular and systemic energy homeostasis pathways, vascular perturbations, and the tumor microenvironment. These CR-responsive pathways and processes represent targets for translating CR research into effective cancer prevention strategies in human beings.

Keywords:
Angiogenesis; Calorie restriction; Cancer prevention; Growth factors; Inflammation; Metabolism; Obesity