No two cancers are the same and neither should your nutrition be. The most commonly asked question to dieticians and oncologists globally is “What Should I Eat?”. The answer is “It Depends”. It depends on the type of cancer, current treatment and supplements being taken, age, gender, BMI, lifestyle and any genetic information available. In short – the answer to “What Should I Eat” for Neuroblastoma needs to be personalized to minimize adverse interactions between nutrition (from foods/diet) and treatment, and to improve symptoms.
Foods like Broccoli and Turnip should be eaten when undergoing Vincristine treatment for Neuroblastoma. On the same lines, avoid foods like Radish and Parsnip with treatment of Vincristine for Neuroblastoma. Also, Black Seed supplements contain an active ingredient called Thymoquinone. Thymoquinone has CYP (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with Vincristine treatment and hence should be avoided.
You get the point – your nutrition needs to be personalized and it needs to be re-evaluated as soon as any of the conditions change. Create and follow a nutrition plan personalized to you to minimize adverse interactions of nutrition for cancers like Neuroblastoma.
What is Neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that develops from immature nerve cells. Around 700 to 800 new cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed every year in the United States. This cancer is commonly diagnosed in babies and young children under the age of 5, however, it can occur rarely in older children and adults. It is more commonly found in white population as compared to black population. (Farouk S Farouk et al, Int J Environ Res Public Health., 2020)
Neuroblastoma has prevalence of certain genetic changes. Some of the genes such as ALK, MUC16, LRP1B, and PTPN11 are known to have genetic abnormalities in this cancer resulting in a change of function.
The genetic abnormalities found in Neuroblastoma can influence specific biochemical pathways to drive these cancer cells to aggressive growth and survive the ongoing treatment. In addition, lifestyle conditions or habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and BMI (Body Mass Index) can have a big influence on the response to your physician prescribed treatments for Neuroblastoma. Numerous studies have consistently shown that your nutrition/diet – both food and nutritional supplements can adversely affect the treatment or be supportive or play no role. Hence, the triangulation of Neuroblastoma genomics, planned or ongoing therapies and lifestyle need to be thoroughly considered to make decisions on what foods and supplements to consider and avoid while designing diet/nutrition plan. Also, it is important to note that when any of these conditions change, like treatment or lifestyle or cancer diagnosis – it may impact the nutrition and the nutrition/diet plan for Neuroblastoma nutrition may have to be redesigned.
Why Eating Right Matters for Neuroblastoma?
In Neuroblastoma, activation or inhibition of some of the biochemical pathways including MAPK Signaling, MYC Signaling, Epithelial To Mesenchymal Transition, Amino Acid Metabolism, RAS-RAF Signaling, Extracellular Matrix Remodelling, Vitamin D Signaling, Oxidative Stress, Hypoxia, Cell Cycle, Small Molecule Transport, Apoptosis, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and Carbohydrate Metabolism plays an important role in driving the disease. All foods and nutritional supplements contain active ingredients which have a specific molecular action on different biochemical pathways. Hence, while the intake of certain foods and nutritional supplements as part of the diet may support a specific treatment of Neuroblastoma, eating few other foods and supplements may lead to adverse interactions with the treatment or may increase the cancer progression.
Example Foods to “Not Eat” and Eat with Vincristine treatment for Neuroblastoma
The nutrition for cancer always depends on the type of cancer, treatments and supplements being taken (if any), age, gender, BMI, lifestyle and any genetic information available. Here we show changes in nutrition/diet for Neuroblastoma considering only one specific treatment- Vincristine
Foods to Avoid
Radish : Radish contains active ingredients such as Citric Acid, Linolenic Acid, Retinol and others. Citric Acid interferes with the impact of Vincristine in Neuroblastoma by blocking a specific biological process called Oxidative Stress. Hence, avoid foods like Radish with Vincristine treatment for Neuroblastoma.
Parsnip : Parsnip contains active ingredients such as Linoleic Acid, Psoralen, Myristicin and others. Linoleic Acid interferes with the impact of Vincristine in Neuroblastoma by activating a specific biochemical pathway called PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling. Hence, avoid foods like Parsnip with Vincristine treatment for Neuroblastoma.
Foods to Eat
Broccoli : Broccoli contains active ingredients like Brassinin, Linolenic Acid and Retinol. Intake of Brassinin along with Vincristine treatment for Neuroblastoma causes a decrease in a specific biochemical pathway which is called MAPK Signaling, and this is a very positive effect. Broccoli hence should be eaten with Vincristine treatment for Neuroblastoma. (Taeyeon Hong et al, Cells., 2021; Thomas F Eleveld et al, Nat Genet., 2015)
Turnip : Turnip contains active ingredients like Indole-3-carbinol, Folic Acid and Vitamin C. Intake of Indole-3-carbinol along with Vincristine treatment for Neuroblastoma causes a decrease in a specific biochemical pathway which is called PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, and this is a very positive effect. Turnip hence should be eaten with Vincristine treatment for Neuroblastoma. (Xinmei Wang et al, Biochim Biophys Acta., 2015; Sreenivasa R Chinni and Fazlul H Sarkar, Clin Cancer Res., 2002; Volker Spitzenberg et al, J Cancer Res Clin Oncol., 2010)
Should I take this Nutritional Supplement for Neuroblastoma?
Black Seed : Black Seed nutritional supplements contain active ingredients such as Thymoquinone which have CYP3A4 interactions with Vincristine treatment, and hence should not be used. Also, Black Seed supplement does not show benefit on other biochemical pathways that could improve the Vincristine treatment efficacy in Neuroblastoma. (Ahmed A Albassam et al, Saudi Pharm J., 2018; Ramya Krishna Vadlapatla et al, Curr Pharm Des., 2013)
What are the Symptoms of Neuroblastoma?
In the initial stages, most cancers including Neuroblastoma may not cause any signs or symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, Neuroblastoma may start showing symptoms.
Following are some of the signs and symptoms that may be caused by Neuroblastoma. The symptoms may vary based on the location of the cancer.
- Swelling and pain in the stomach
- Constipation or difficulty in passing urine
- Lump in the neck
- Swallowing difficulties
- Bluish coloured lumps in the skin
- Weakness in the legs leading to unsteady walk along with numbness in the lower body
- fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss
- Bone pain and limp
Though many of these symptoms may also be caused by various other health conditions, consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms to rule out the possible chances of Neuroblastoma.
What are the Treatment Options for Neuroblastoma?
The treatment for Neuroblastoma may be decided based on different factors including the age, stage and extent of spread of the cancer, cancer characteristics, symptoms, patient’s general health and medical history, and the type of cells involved in the cancer. The treatment options for Neuroblastoma include:
- Bone marrow transplant
- Radiation therapy
- Radioactive iodine
Surgery is the most common treatment regimen for low-risk Neuroblastoma. As part of the diet, avoid including those foods and supplements that may adversely interact with the treatments for Neuroblastoma.
The two most important things to remember are that cancer treatments and nutrition are never the same for everyone. Nutrition/diet which includes food and nutritional supplements is an effective tool which is controlled by you, while facing cancer such as Neuroblastoma.
What food you eat and which supplements you take is a decision you make. Your decision should include consideration of the cancer gene mutations, which cancer, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, lifestyle information, weight, height and habits.
The nutrition planning for cancer from addon is not based on internet searches. It automates the decision making for you based on molecular science implemented by our scientists and software engineers. Irrespective of whether you care to understand the underlying biochemical molecular pathways or not - for nutrition planning for cancer that understanding is needed.
Get started NOW with your nutrition planning by answering questions on the name of cancer, genetic mutations, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, habits, lifestyle, age group and gender.
Foods to Eat After Cancer Diagnosis!
No two cancers are the same. Go beyond the common nutrition guidelines for everyone and make personalized decisions about food and supplements with confidence.
Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer. Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.