Background: The mean overall survival rate of children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is 9–11 months, with current standard treatment with fractionated radiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy. So far, novel therapeutic strategies have not yet resulted in significantly better survival. The main source of energy for glioblastoma cells is glucose. Therefore, metabolic alterations induced by the use of the extremely carbohydrate-restricted ketogenic diet (KD) as adjuvant therapy are subject of interest in cancer research. Procedure: This study explores the safety and feasibility of the KD in children with recurrent DIPG and no remaining treatment options. Safety was defined as the number of adverse effects. Feasibility was defined as the number of patients who were able to use the KD for three months. Coping of patients and parents was measured with questionnaires. Results: Three of 14 children referred to our hospital between 2010 and 2015 were included. Two patients completed the study, and one died before the end of the study. Hospitalizations were needed for placing a nasogastric tube (n = 1) and epileptic seizures (n = 1). Adverse effects related to the diet were mild and transient. Parents were highly motivated during the study. Conclusion: Use of KD is safe and feasible, but the effect on survival has to be proven in a larger cohort of children who start the KD earlier after diagnosis, preferably as adjuvant therapy to fractionated radiotherapy.

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Pediatric Blood & Cancer

van der Louw, E., Reddingius, R., Olieman, J., Neuteboom, R., & Catsman-Berrevoets, C. (2018). Ketogenic diet treatment in recurrent diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in children: A safety and feasibility study. Pediatric Blood & Cancer. doi:10.1002/pbc.27561