A diet rich in fiber may help some people being treated for melanoma respond to immunotherapy treatment by influencing the gut microbiome, according to a new study led by researchers at the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Among patients with advanced melanoma who underwent immunotherapy with immune checkpoint blockers, those who consumed at least 20 grams a day of dietary fiber survived the longest without their disease progressing.
In contrast, use of probiotic supplements appeared to lessen somewhat the effectiveness of immune checkpoint blocker regimens.
“The data suggest that one can target the composition of the gut microbiota and affect the ability of the patient to respond to immunotherapy. Consuming a diet rich in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and legumes, could improve your ability to respond to immunotherapy”, said the researchers.