Zhigang Lu 1 , Jingjing Xie 1 , 2 , Guojin Wu 1 , Jinhui Shen 1 , Robert Collins 3 , Weina Chen 4 , Xunlei Kang 1 , Min Luo 5 , Yizhou Zou 6 , Lily Jun-Shen Huang 7 , James F Amatruda 8 , Tamra Slone 8 , Naomi Winick 8 , Philipp E Scherer 3 , 7 , 9 , Cheng Cheng Zhang 1 , 2
12 December 2016
New therapeutic approaches are needed to treat leukemia effectively. Dietary restriction regimens, including fasting, have been considered for the prevention and treatment of certain solid tumor types. However, whether and how dietary restriction affects hematopoietic malignancies is unknown. Here we report that fasting alone robustly inhibits the initiation and reverses the leukemic progression of both B cell and T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL and T-ALL, respectively), but not acute myeloid leukemia (AML), in mouse models of these tumors. Mechanistically, we found that attenuated leptin-receptor (LEPR) expression is essential for the development and maintenance of ALL, and that fasting inhibits ALL development by upregulation of LEPR and its downstream signaling through the protein PR/SET domain 1 (PRDM1). The expression of LEPR signaling-related genes correlated with the prognosis of pediatric patients with pre-B-ALL, and fasting effectively inhibited B-ALL growth in a human xenograft model. Our results indicate that the effects of fasting on tumor growth are cancer-type dependent, and they suggest new avenues for the development of treatment strategies for leukemia.