Mannose impairs tumour growth and enhances chemotherapy

In the quest of investigating how tumour cells respond to different forms of sugar, the authors of this article discovered that mannose causes growth retardation in several tumour in vitro. The administration of mannose in combination with conventional chemotherapy affects levels of anti-apoptotic proteins of the Bcl-2 family, leading to sensitization to cell death.
Mechanistically, mannose is taken up by the same transporter(s) as glucose3 but accumulates as mannose-6-phosphate in cells, and this impairs the further metabolism of glucose in glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, the pentose phosphate pathway and glycan synthesis.

The authors consider that the administration of mannose could be a simple, safe and selective therapy in the treatment of cancer, and could be applicable to multiple tumour types. Nevertheless, this is a very early research and has not yet been tested in humans. Patients should not self-prescribe mannose as there is a real risk of negative side effects that haven’t been tested for yet.