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Understanding the effects of caloric restriction in 3D colorectal cancer cells

Recent research from the University of Notre Dame’s Harper Cancer Research Institute reveals that caloric restriction can cause higher autophagy rates in colorectal cancer cell line spheroids, based on 3D cell culture models. The study was published in the journal Nutrition Research.

  • Researchers have extensively studied caloric restriction, also referred to as nutrient restriction, for its multiple health benefits and positive impact on a person’s lifespan, immunity, and aging.
  • Studies have also found an association between caloric restriction and decreased initiation and progression of cancer.
  • In the study, researchers compared molecular and phenotypic changes caused by glucose restriction and bovine serum restriction.
  • The team used spheroids, which are 3D cell culture models, in the HCT 116 colorectal cancer cell line. The researchers believe that this model is a high throughput model for understanding the proteomic changes that follow caloric restriction.
  • To evaluate apoptosis and autophagy levels in the spheroids under nutrient restriction, researchers used flow cytometry assay. They also used isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to determine how nutrient restriction conditions impact differential protein abundances.
  • The researchers found that certain proteins, particularly those that are linked to cancer progression and metastasis, are differentially regulated by either glucose or serum restriction.
  • They observed that sirtuin 1 and protein inhibitor of activated STAT 1 were upregulated, while multi-drug resistance protein and Zinc finger and BTB domain-containing protein 7A were downregulated during caloric restriction.

In sum, caloric restriction lowers the rate of apoptosis but increases the rate of autophagy and differentially regulates proteins associated with cancer progression and metastasis.

Learn natural ways to prevent colorectal cancer cells at

Journal Reference:

Schroll MM, Liu X, Herzog SK, Skube SB, Hummon AB. NUTRIENT RESTRICTION OF GLUCOSE OR SERUM RESULTS IN SIMILAR PROTEOMIC EXPRESSION CHANGES IN 3D COLON CANCER CELL CULTURES. Nutrition Research. 14 August 2016;36(10):1068–1080. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.08.002

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