Home > Treatment Options > Tumor Suppressors > Clinical Trials >

Ketogenic Diet: Tumors and Epilepsy

The condition neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) involves the growth of tumors primarily in the central nervous system, even if tumor growth could reach all parts of the body. Tumor growth in the brain can easily result in temporary or permanent epilepsy.

There has been considerable evidence that diet may be a factor in possible help in the management of both regulation of tumor growth and epilepsy (seizures). But diet alone is unlikely to stop either seizures or tumor growth.

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate, anti-inflammatorydiet.


For some time a ketogenic diet (keto diet) was the recommended diet for epileptic individuals with some noted change with no information shared about what diet the individuals had been on before the change.[2] It is something to consider, however, do not change medical management recommended by doctors.


For management or prevention of tumor conditions, evidence indicates that individuals living on low sugar diets of some sort often do better long-term than individuals on a western diet. It is also often noted from individuals who switch away from western dieting to a lower sugar diet a considerable improvement of overall health. Some research indicates that a keto diet is the ideal diet, but it is possible research is simply proving a keto diet, one of the many diets that require low-sugar dieting, could be the answer. More research is needed.

Newer research indicates that a kento diet could amplify effectiveness of tumor-drug treatments for individuals with NF2.[1]

PI3K Enzyme and Ketogenic Diet could give new tumor-fighting drugs

July 6, 2018

"New cancer-fighting drugs come along pretty regularly, and some show more promise than others, but a new class of treatments is getting a boost in effectiveness from a somewhat unlikely source: a low-carb diet."[1]

"The drugs in question work by targeting the PI3K enzyme which has been linked to cancer mutations. The drugs showed promise early on but have fallen short of lofty expectations, and now scientists think that combining the drugs with a ketogenic diet might be the real answer."[1]

"Any drug that targets PI3K may not be effective unless patients can maintain low blood sugar levels through diet or medication," Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said in a statement. "We demonstrated that if we keep insulin down with the ketogenic diet, it dramatically improves the effectiveness of these cancer drugs.""[1]

"The scientists believe this is the case because of how PI3K affects insulin production. By muting the function of PI3K, the tumors should begin to die, but things haven't worked out that way. Doctors now believe this is because the pancreas is playing catch-up with blood sugar levels, boosting insulin levels and essentially canceling out the effect of the drug.[1]

"By dramatically reducing or outright eliminating carbohydrates, a keto diet commands the body to begin using fats as fuel, stabilizing blood sugar levels and giving the drug a chance to do its job. This approach has proven to be extremely effective in lab trials with mice."[1]


PI3K - Phosphoinositide 3-kinase


  1. "Ketogenic diet could give new cancer-fighting drugs a big boost" BGR. (July 5th, 2018)
  2. "Ketogenic Diet" Epilepsy Foundation of America
  3. James, Marianne F., et al. "NF2/merlin is a novel negative regulator of mTOR complex 1, and activation of mTORC1 is associated with meningioma and schwannoma growth." Molecular and cellular biology 29.15 (2009): 4250-4261.
    http://mcb.asm.org/content/29/15/4250.short | DOI: 10.1128/MCB.01581-08
  4. Clark, Victoria E., et al. "Genomic analysis of non-NF2 meningiomas reveals mutations in TRAF7, KLF4, AKT1, and SMO." Science (2013): 1233009.
    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/01/23/science.1233009 | DOI: 10.1126/science.1233009
  5. Abedalthagafi, Malak, et al. "Oncogenic PI3K mutations are as common as AKT1 and SMO mutations in meningioma." Neuro-oncology 18.5 (2016): 649-655.
    https://academic.oup.com/neuro-oncology/article/18/5/649/1752381 | DOI: 10.1093/neuonc/nov316
  6. Neal, Elizabeth G., et al. "The ketogenic diet for the treatment of childhood epilepsy: a randomised controlled trial." The Lancet Neurology 7.6 (2008): 500-506.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1474442208700929 | DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(08)70092-9
What is NF2? | About Us | Treatment Options | Sitemap

Site Search

Disclaimer: Neurofibromatosis Type 2 - Information and Services, www.nf2is.org, is not run by medical experts, affiliated with any healthcare organization or any other company. No assurance can be made to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided here, the accuracy of other sites to which this site links, or of sites that link to this site. - Read More

Copyright © 2021