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What Foods are Recommended for Cancer?
is a very common question. Personalized Nutrition Plans are foods and supplements which are personalized to a cancer indication, genes, any treatments and lifestyle conditions.

Foods for Merkel Cell Carcinoma!

Jul 23, 2023

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Introduction

Foods for Merkel Cell Carcinoma should be personalized for each individual and also must adapt when cancer treatment or tumor genetic change. The personalization and adaptation must consider all the active ingredients or bioactives contained in different foods with respect to cancer tissue biology, genetics, treatments, lifestyle conditions and diet preferences. Hence while nutrition is one of the very important decisions for a cancer patient and individual at risk of cancer to make – how to choose foods to eat is not an easy task.



For Merkel Cell Carcinoma does it matter what vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds one eats?

A very common nutrition question asked by cancer patients and individuals at-genetic risk of cancer is – for cancers like Merkel Cell Carcinoma does it matter what foods I eat and which I do not? Or if I follow a plant-based diet is that enough for cancer like Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

For example does it matter if vegetable Brussel Sprouts is consumed more compared to Common Cabbage? Does it make any difference if fruit Date is preferred over Sour Cherry? Also if similar choices are made for nuts/seeds like Butternut over European Chestnut and for pulses like Broad Bean over Catjang Pea. And if what I eat matters – then how does one identify foods which are recommended for Merkel Cell Carcinoma and is it the same answer for everyone with the same diagnosis or genetic risk?

Yes! Foods you eat matters for Merkel Cell Carcinoma!

Food recommendations may not be the same for everyone and can be different even for the same diagnosis and genetic risk.

All cancers like Merkel Cell Carcinoma can be characterized by a unique set of biochemical pathways - the signature pathways of Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Biochemical pathways like NFKB Signaling, Phospholipase Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Cell Cycle are part of the signature definition of Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

All foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, pulses, oils etc.) and nutritional supplements are made up of more than one active molecular ingredient or bio-actives in different proportions and quantities. Each active ingredient has a unique mechanism of action – which can be activation or inhibition of different biochemical pathways. Simply stated foods and supplements which are recommended are those which do not cause an increase of molecular drivers of cancer but reduce them. Else those foods should not be recommended. Foods contain multiple active ingredients – hence when evaluating foods and supplements you need to consider the impact of all active ingredients cumulatively rather than individually.

For example Date contains active ingredients Curcumin, Apigenin, Isoliquiritigenin, Lupeol, Formononetin. And Sour Cherry contains active ingredients Curcumin, Apigenin, Quercetin, Isoliquiritigenin, Lupeol and possibly others.

A common mistake made when deciding and choosing foods to eat for Merkel Cell Carcinoma – is to evaluate only selected active ingredients contained in foods and ignore the rest. Because different active ingredients contained in foods may have opposing effects on cancer drivers – you cannot cherry pick active ingredients in foods and supplements for making a nutrition decision for Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

YES – FOOD CHOICES MATTER FOR CANCER. NUTRITION DECISIONS MUST CONSIDER ALL ACTIVE INGREDIENTS OF FOODS.

Skills Needed for Nutrition Personalization for Merkel Cell Carcinoma?

Personalized nutrition for cancers like Merkel Cell Carcinoma consists of recommended foods / supplements; not recommended foods / supplements with example recipes which prioritize use of recommended foods. An example of personalized nutrition can be seen at this link.

Deciding which foods are recommended or not is extremely complicated, requiring expertise in Merkel Cell Carcinoma biology, food science, genetics, biochemistry along with good understanding of how cancer treatments work and associated vulnerabilities by which the treatments could stop being effective.

MINIMUM KNOWLEDGE EXPERTISE NEEDED FOR NUTRITION PERSONALIZATION FOR CANCER ARE: CANCER BIOLOGY, FOOD SCIENCE, CANCER TREATMENTS AND GENETICS.

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.

Characteristics of cancers like Merkel Cell Carcinoma

All cancers like Merkel Cell Carcinoma can be characterized by a unique set of biochemical pathways – the signature pathways of Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Biochemical pathways like NFKB Signaling, Phospholipase Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, Cell Cycle are part of the signature definition of Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Each individual’s cancer genetics can be different and hence their specific cancer signature could be unique.

The treatments which are effective for Merkel Cell Carcinoma need to be cognizant of the associated signature biochemical pathways for each cancer patient and individual at genetic risk. Therefore different treatments with different mechanisms of actions are effective for different patients. Similarly and for the same reasons foods and supplements need to be personalized for each individual. Hence some foods and supplements are recommended for Merkel Cell Carcinoma when taking cancer treatment Thalidomide, and some foods and supplements are not recommended.

Sources like cBioPortal and many others provide population representative patient anonymized data from clinical trials for all cancer indications. This data consists of clinical trial study details like sample size / number of patients, age groups, gender, ethnicity, treatments, tumor site and any genetic mutations.

TP53, RB1, SMARCA4, KMT2D and KMT2C are the top ranked reported genes for Merkel Cell Carcinoma. TP53 is reported in 52.6 % of the representative patients across all clinical trials. And RB1 is reported in 42.1 %. The combined population patient data cover ages from to . 68.3 % of the patient data are identified as men. The Merkel Cell Carcinoma biology along with reported genetics together define the population represented signature biochemical pathways for this cancer. If the individual cancer tumor genetics or genes contributing to the risk are also known then that should also be used for nutrition personalization.

NUTRITION CHOICES SHOULD MATCH WITH EACH INDIVIDUAL’S CANCER SIGNATURE.

Foods for Merkel Cell Carcinoma!

Food and Supplements for Merkel Cell Carcinoma

For Cancer Patients

Cancer patients on treatment or on palliative care need to make decisions on food and supplements – for the needed dietary calories, for managing any treatment side effects and also for improved cancer management. All plant-based foods are not equal and choosing and prioritizing foods which are personalized and customized to ongoing cancer treatment is important and complicated. Here are some examples providing guidelines for making nutrition decisions.

Choose Vegetable BRUSSEL SPROUTS or COMMON CABBAGE?

Vegetable Brussel Sprouts contains many active ingredients or bioactives such as Curcumin, Isoliquiritigenin, Lupeol, Formononetin, Beta-sitosterol. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like RAS-RAF Signaling, WNT Beta Catenin Signaling, Hypoxia and NFKB Signaling and others. Brussel Sprouts is recommended for Merkel Cell Carcinoma when ongoing cancer treatment is Thalidomide. This is because Brussel Sprouts modifies those biochemical pathways which have been scientifically reported to sensitize the effect of Thalidomide.

Some of the active ingredients or bioactives in vegetable Common Cabbage are Curcumin, Quercetin, Isoliquiritigenin, Lupeol, Kaempferol. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like NFKB Signaling and others. Common Cabbage is not recommended for Merkel Cell Carcinoma when ongoing cancer treatment is Thalidomide because it modifies those biochemical pathways which make the cancer treatment resistant or less responsive.

VEGETABLE BRUSSEL SPROUTS IS RECOMMENDED OVER COMMON CABBAGE FOR Merkel Cell Carcinoma AND TREATMENT Thalidomide.

Choose Fruit SOUR CHERRY or DATE?

Fruit Sour Cherry contains many active ingredients or bioactives such as Curcumin, Apigenin, Quercetin, Isoliquiritigenin, Lupeol. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like Hypoxia, MYC Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and others. Sour Cherry is recommended for Merkel Cell Carcinoma when ongoing cancer treatment is Thalidomide. This is because Sour Cherry modifies those biochemical pathways which have been scientifically reported to sensitize the effect of Thalidomide.

Some of the active ingredients or bioactives in fruit Date are Curcumin, Apigenin, Isoliquiritigenin, Lupeol, Formononetin. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like NFKB Signaling and others. Date is not recommended for Merkel Cell Carcinoma when ongoing cancer treatment is Thalidomide because it modifies those biochemical pathways which make the cancer treatment resistant or less responsive.

FRUIT SOUR CHERRY IS RECOMMENDED OVER DATE FOR Merkel Cell Carcinoma AND TREATMENT Thalidomide.

Choose Nut BUTTERNUT or EUROPEAN CHESTNUT?

Butternut contains many active ingredients or bioactives such as Curcumin, Apigenin, Isoliquiritigenin, Myricetin, Luteolin. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like DNA Repair, Phospholipase Signaling, Cell Cycle and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and others. Butternut is recommended for Merkel Cell Carcinoma when ongoing cancer treatment is Thalidomide. This is because Butternut modifies those biochemical pathways which have been scientifically reported to sensitize the effect of Thalidomide.

Some of the active ingredients or bioactives in European Chestnut are Curcumin, Apigenin, Quercetin, Isoliquiritigenin, Ellagic Acid. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like Oncogenic Histone Methylation, WNT Beta Catenin Signaling and Oncogenic Cancer Epigenetics and others. European Chestnut is not recommended for Merkel Cell Carcinoma when ongoing cancer treatment is Thalidomide because it modifies those biochemical pathways which make the cancer treatment resistant or less responsive.

BUTTERNUT IS RECOMMENDED OVER EUROPEAN CHESTNUT FOR Merkel Cell Carcinoma AND TREATMENT Thalidomide.

For Individuals with Genetic Risk of Cancer

The question asked by individuals who have genetic risk of Merkel Cell Carcinoma or familial history is “What Should I Eat Differently from Before?” and how they should choose foods and supplements to manage risks of the disease. Since for cancer risk there is nothing actionable in terms of treatment – decisions of foods and supplements become important and one of the very few actionable things which can be done. All plant-based foods are not equal and based on identified genetics and pathway signature – the choices of food and supplements should be personalized.

Choose Vegetable GIANT BUTTERBUR or KOHLRABI?

Vegetable Giant Butterbur contains many active ingredients or bioactives such as Apigenin, Curcumin, Lupeol, Daidzein, Formononetin. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like Cell Cycle Checkpoints, DNA Repair, Angiogenesis and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and others. Giant Butterbur is recommended for risk of Merkel Cell Carcinoma when associated genetic risk is KMT2C. This is because Giant Butterbur increases those biochemical pathways which counteract the signature drivers of it.

Some of the active ingredients or bioactives in vegetable Kohlrabi are Curcumin, Quercetin, Lupeol, Daidzein, Formononetin. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like DNA Repair and Stem Cell Signaling and others. Kohlrabi is not recommended when risk of Merkel Cell Carcinoma when associated genetic risk is KMT2C because it increases the signature pathways of it.

VEGETABLE GIANT BUTTERBUR IS RECOMMENDED OVER KOHLRABI FOR KMT2C GENETIC RISK OF CANCER.

Choose Fruit NANCE or PUMMELO?

Fruit Nance contains many active ingredients or bioactives such as Apigenin, Curcumin, Lupeol, Daidzein, Formononetin. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like Cell Cycle Checkpoints, DNA Repair, Angiogenesis and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and others. Nance is recommended for risk of Merkel Cell Carcinoma when associated genetic risk is KMT2C. This is because Nance increases those biochemical pathways which counteract the signature drivers of it.

Some of the active ingredients or bioactives in fruit Pummelo are Apigenin, Curcumin, Quercetin, Lupeol, Daidzein. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like Cell Cycle Checkpoints, DNA Repair and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and others. Pummelo is not recommended when risk of Merkel Cell Carcinoma when associated genetic risk is KMT2C because it increases the signature pathways of it.

FRUIT NANCE IS RECOMMENDED OVER PUMMELO FOR KMT2C GENETIC RISK OF CANCER.

Choose Nut COMMON HAZELNUT or CASHEW NUT?

Common Hazelnut contains many active ingredients or bioactives such as Curcumin, Quercetin, Lupeol, Daidzein, Formononetin. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like DNA Repair, MYC Signaling, Growth Factor Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and others. Common Hazelnut is recommended for risk of Merkel Cell Carcinoma when associated genetic risk is KMT2C. This is because Common Hazelnut increases those biochemical pathways which counteract the signature drivers of it.

Some of the active ingredients or bioactives in Cashew Nut are Curcumin, Quercetin, Lupeol, Daidzein, Formononetin. These active ingredients manipulate various biochemical pathways like DNA Repair, Growth Factor Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and others. Cashew Nut is not recommended when risk of Merkel Cell Carcinoma when associated genetic risk is KMT2C because it increases the signature pathways of it.

COMMON HAZELNUT IS RECOMMENDED OVER CASHEW NUT FOR KMT2C GENETIC RISK OF CANCER.


In Conclusion

Foods and Supplements chosen are important decisions for cancers like Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Merkel Cell Carcinoma patients and individuals with genetic-risk always have this question: “What foods and nutritional supplements are recommended for me and which are not?” There is a common belief which is a misconception that all plant-based foods could be beneficial or not but would not be harmful. Certain foods and supplements can interfere with cancer treatments or promote molecular pathway drivers of cancer.

There are different types of cancer indications like Merkel Cell Carcinoma, each with different tumor genetics with further genomic variations across each individual. Further every cancer treatment and chemotherapy has a unique mechanism of action. Each food like Brussel Sprouts contains various bioactives in different quantities, which have an impact on different and distinct sets of biochemical pathways. The definition of personalized nutrition is individualized food recommendations for the cancer indication, treatments, genetics, lifestyle and other factors. Nutrition personalization decisions for cancer require knowledge of cancer biology, food science and an understanding of different chemotherapy treatments. Finally when there are treatment changes or new genomics is identified – the nutrition personalization needs re-evaluation.

The addon nutrition personalization solution makes the decision making easy and removes all the guesswork in answering the question, “What foods should I choose or not choose for Merkel Cell Carcinoma?”. The addon multi-disciplinary team includes cancer physicians, clinical scientists, software engineers and data scientists.


Personalized Nutrition for Cancer!

Cancer changes with time. Customize and modify your nutrition based on cancer indication, treatments, lifestyle, food preferences, allergies and other factors.

References

Scientifically Reviewed by: Dr. Cogle

Christopher R. Cogle, M.D. is a tenured professor at the University of Florida, Chief Medical Officer of Florida Medicaid, and Director of the Florida Health Policy Leadership Academy at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

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