Nutritional Preconditioning in Cancer Treatment in Relation to DNA Damage and Aging

Winnie van den Boogaard, Marry Marrigje van den Heuvel-Eibrink, Jan Hoeijmakers, Wilbert P. Vermeij

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Dietary restriction (DR) is the most successful nutritional intervention for extending lifespan and preserving health in numerous species. Reducing food intake triggers a protective response that shifts energy resources from growth to maintenance and resilience mechanisms. This so-called survival response has been shown to particularly increase life- and health span and decrease DNA damage in DNA repair-deficient mice exhibiting accelerated aging. Accumulation of DNA damage is the main cause of aging, but also of cancer. Moreover, radiotherapies and most chemotherapies are based on damaging DNA, consistent with their ability to induce toxicity and accelerate aging. Since fasting and DR decrease DNA damage and its effects, nutritional preconditioning holds promise for improving (cancer) therapy and preventing short- and long-term side effects of anticancer treatments. This review provides an overview of the link between aging and cancer, highlights important preclinical studies applying such nutritional preconditioning, and summarizes the first clinical trials implementing nutritional preconditioning in cancer treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-179
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Cancer Biology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2021


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