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Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer Hardcover – June 26, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0470584927 ISBN-10: 0470584920 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


“This book offers a refreshing perspective for anyone wanting to get a comprehensive background on the newer emerging interest in targeting cancer metabolism for therapy.”  (Doody’s, 11 January 2013)

“For the first time, an entire issue is being devoted to a review article based on a recent medical book. This is a departure from our usual format, but I think you will agree that this topic warrants the detailed treatment we have given it . . .This book should be required reading for all scientifically literate people who are involved in the cancer problem.”  (Advances in Cancer Treatment, 1 October 2012)

From the Back Cover

A groundbreaking new approach to understanding, preventing, and treating cancer

Supported by evidence from more than 1,000 scientific and clinical studies, this groundbreaking book demonstrates that cancer is a metabolic disease and, more importantly, that it can be more effectively managed and prevented when it is recognized as such. Moreover, the book provides detailed evidence that the traditional view of cancer as a genetic disease has been largely responsible for the failure to develop effective therapies and preventive strategies.

Cancer as a Metabolic Disease reevaluates the origins of cancer based on the latest research findings as well as several decades of studies exploring the defects in tumor cell energy metabolism. Author Thomas Seyfried is a biochemical geneticist who has been investigating the lipid biochemistry of cancer for thirty years. In this book, he carefully establishes why approaching cancer as a metabolic disease leads to better understanding and management of all aspects of the disease, including inflammation, vascularization, cell death, drug resistance, and genomic instability. In addition, the book explores:

  • Origin of metastasis
  • New treatment strategies that target tumor cell energy metabolism, including the ketogenic diet
  • More effective prevention strategies in light of the metabolic origin of cancer
  • Case studies and perspectives from the point of view of physicians, patients, and caregivers

Throughout the book, tables, figures, and graphs summarize key information and clarify complex concepts. In addition, the renowned cancer biochemist Peter Pedersen from Johns Hopkins Medical School also provides a historical perspective on the importance of the information presented in his foreward to the book.

Cancer as a Metabolic Disease is essential reading for all cancer researchers and clinicians as well as public health professionals. By treating cancer as a metabolic disease, the book sets readers on a new, more promising path to understanding the origins of cancer and developing new, more effective strategies to treat and prevent it.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470584920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470584927
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas N. Seyfried received his Ph.D. in Genetics and Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1976. He did his undergraduate work at the University of New England (formally St. Francis College) and also holds a Master's degree in Genetics from Illinois State University, Normal, IL. Thomas Seyfried served with distinction in the United States Army First Cavalry Division during the Vietnam War, and received numerous medals and commendations including the Bronze Star, Air Medal, and Army Commendation Medal. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Neurology at the Yale University School of Medicine, and then served on the faculty as an Assistant Professor in Neurology. Prior to receiving full professorship, Dr. Seyfried was an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Boston College. Other awards and honors have come from such diverse organizations as the American Oil Chemists Society, the National Institutes of Health, The American Society for Neurochemistry, and the Ketogenic Diet Special Interest Group of the American Epilepsy Society. Dr. Seyfried previously served as Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee for the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association and presently serves on several editorial boards, including those for Nutrition & Metabolism, Neurochemical Research, the Journal of Lipid Research, and ASN Neuro. Dr. Seyfried's research program focuses on gene environmental interactions related to complex diseases, such as epilepsy, autism, brain cancer, and neurodegenerative (the GM1 and GM2 gangliosidoses) diseases. Dr. Seyfried investigates many of these diseases from the perspective of, genetics, lipidomics, and energy metabolism. Much of his work also has direct translational benefit to the clinic. A list of Dr. Seyfried's recent publications appear on his website in the Boston College Biology Department (

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 178 people found the following review helpful By Dominic D'Agostino on July 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Seyfried provides compelling evidence that cancer is a metabolic disease (NOT a genetic disease), and this has major implications for the treatment and prevention of cancer.

According to Otto Warburg's theory of cancer, mitochondrial dysfunction is the origin of cancer. Dr. Seyfried has amassed extensive evidence to support Warburg's theory and advances the idea that cancer arises from defects in energy metabolism (mitochondrial dysfunction), and that this metabolic dysfunction triggers genomic instability, activates oncogenes and inactivating tumor suppressor genes. The author does an incredible job at convincing the reader that healthy mitochondria are the ultimate tumor suppressor.

It's clear that the strategy to treat cancer as a genetic disease is not working following metastasis of solid primary tumors, but this fuels the pharmaceutical industry. Enormous amounts of money are spent on large cancer genome projects, but this has not advanced our understanding or treatment of cancer as expected. The cancer genome project has actually created more confusion amongst cancer researchers, and this is very clear if one reads the literature. On the other hand, when cancer is viewed as a metabolic disease the strategies to treat and prevent cancer become incredibly simplistic and economical. For example, animals studies, case reports and anecdotal evidence demonstrate that metabolic therapies that lower blood glucose and elevate ketones will quickly reduce tumor growth, extend lifespan and in some cases cause complete remission. This strategy is effective because cancer cells are fueled by glucose and lack the ability to derive energy from ketones due to mitochondrial defects.
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125 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Strum on September 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a board-certified medical oncologist with 30 years experience in caring for cancer patients and another 20 years of research in cancer medicine dating back to 1963. Seyfried's "Cancer as a Metabolic Disease" is the most significant book I have read in my 50 years in this field. It should be required reading of all cancer specialists, physicians in general, scientific researchers in the field of cancer and for medical students. I cannot overstate what a valuable contribution Thomas Seyfried has made in writing this masterpiece.
Stephen B. Strum, MD, FACP
Medical Oncologist, Member of ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) since 1975
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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful By GWY on June 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It has been known for a long time that caloric restriction led to longevity but also that it stopped cancer growth, some completely and many partial suppression with later recurrences.

Dr. Seyfried spent his whole career looking at an old concept defining cancer as a metabolic abnormality (Warburg). The fact that our PET scans show high glucose uptake in almost all types of cancer proves that cancers have a unique metabolic abnormality unlike normal differentiated cells. Simply put cancer cells require large amounts of glucose, or sugar to survival and multiply.

The cancer cells have an inefficient metabolism utilizing fermentation or glycolysis instead of using mitochondria for a more efficient way of make ATP energy via oxidative phosphorylation.

Why our own medical profession has not looked into this feature of cancer for therapeutic strategies is also odd.
It is well know that Caloric Restriction stops cancer growth and many nutritional support such as macrobiotics and Hippocrates raw foods all have the common denominator of -- low calories with dense nutrition.

I suspect in the next 10 years there will be more discussions and research on use caloric restrictions, on use of alternative body fuel or energy source such as ketones, and glucose analogues, and ways to disrupt glycolysis and abnormal mitochondrial functions by using metabolic approaches to treat cancers.

I recommend this book to layman and professionals who are interested in the biology of cancers. top rating
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84 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Maroon, MD on July 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Seyfried has distilled a life time of basic science investigation into a brilliant summary of the causes of cancer. Although heavily scientific it reads like a mystery novel.
He directly challenges the prevalent "gene theory" of cancer that forms the basis of virtually all investigative efforts into cancer. He then details the origin, scientific basis and practicality of the metabolic cause of cancer.
Most importantly, he proposes a paradigm shift in how we should at least consider treating malignancies and in particular, brain cancer.
Based on evolutionary biology this book makes sense! It should be read by every scientist involved with the biology and treatment of cancer and by laymen with a scientific background. It is one of the most important books I have read as a neurosurgeon dealing with brain tumor patients in over 25 years.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Greg Nigh on March 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is rare these days to read a new idea within the field of cancer, its causes and its treatment. There is no absence of old ideas, to be sure, but they are remarkably underwhelming in their explanatory power, and even less impressive in their ability to generate new and useful therapies.

Seyfried enters this field not only with some new ideas about causes, but some most excellent new ideas about therapeutics. And most surprising, he does it all in the context of a writing style that is both readable and even enjoyable. His recurring interjections with "Hello! Oncologists, are you listening?" seem, at the same time, out of place in an academic text and a welcome and needed shout at the conventional oncology world that has been oblivious to the evidence Seyfried amasses.

Seyfried's thesis might be summarized as, "It's the mitochondria, Stupid!" While the conventional oncology world has focused on a small percentage of characteristics that are unique to each type of cancer, Seyfried is calling attention to the set of changes that are common to all cancers, regardless of type. And central to those commonalities are specific alterations in mitochondrial function and the metabolic and genetic changes that flow from them.

Most importantly, Seyfried shows the obvious therapeutic interventions that are indicated by his thesis. The unfortunate point is that the therapies he is advocating are not likely to be embraced in the oncology world generally. For example, a very specific calorie-restricted diet for cancer patients is critical, and flies in the face of the common horrendous nutritional advice given to cancer patients, which is to eat lots of calories - in any form - just to maintain weight.
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