Short-term fasting (STF), using a low caloric, low protein fasting mimicking diet (FMD), appears to be a promising strategy to enhance chemotherapy-based cancer efficacy, while potentially alleviating toxicity. Preclinical results suggest that enhanced tumor immunity and decreased growth signaling, via lowering of circulating insulin and insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels form the potential underlying mechanisms. STF may boost anti-tumor responses by promoting tumor immunogenicity and decreasing local immunosuppression. These findings warrant further studies focused on the combination of STF, not only with chemotherapy, but also with immunotherapy to evaluate the full range of benefits of STF in cancer treatment. Here, we delineate the underlying anticancer mechanisms of fasting. We summarize preclinical evidence of STF boosting antitumor immunity and alleviating immunosuppression, as well as the clinical findings reporting the immunomodulatory effects of STF during various cancer treatments, including immunotherapy.
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