A ketogenic diet is a potential adjuvant cancer therapy that limits glucose availability to tumours while fuelling normal tissues with ketone bodies. We examined the effect of a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet (LCKD) (80% kcal from fat, ketogenic ratio 1.75:1, w/w) compared to a general hospital diet (GD) on serum metabolic profiles in patients (n = 18, ≥ 19 years old) who underwent pancreatectomy for pancreatobiliary cancer. Serum samples collected preoperatively (week 0) and after the dietary intervention (week 2) were analysed with a nontargeted metabolomics approach using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Serum β-hydroxybutyrate and total ketone levels significantly increased after 2 weeks of LCKD compared to GD (p < 0.05). Principal component analysis score plots and orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis also showed significant differences between groups at week 2, with strong validation. In all, 240 metabolites differed between LCKD and GD. Pathways including glycerophospholipid and sphingolipid metabolisms were significantly enriched in the LCKD samples. LCKD decreased C22:1-ceramide levels, which are reported to be high in pancreatic cancer, while increasing lysophosphatidylcholine (18:2), uric acid, citrulline, and inosine levels, which are generally low in pancreatic cancer. Postoperative LCKD might beneficially modulate pancreatic cancer-related metabolites in patients with pancreatobiliary cancer.
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