No Grapes or pineapples for rest of life (NSCLC)

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Dr Walko Dr Walko 2 years, 9 months ago.

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August 27, 2015 at 8:12 am  #1270962    


Hello folks,

My Dad has NSCLC and is going through second set of chemo. His oncologist suggested him again, not to eat grapes and pineapples for rest of his life. This was told to him last year as well, at the time of his first chemo and he followed through.

My Dad just can’t figure out why the oncologist must be suggesting this. It is not because of the sugar content. Dad asked that, but he could not ask more.

Does anyone know why this suggestion must have come up?

Thanks in advance.

August 28, 2015 at 10:24 am  #1270981    
JimC Forum Moderator
JimC Forum Moderator

Hi deltaforce,

I have not heard that recommendation before, and don’t know why it would be made. Grapefruit is to be avoided when taking Iressa or Tarceva, but that is the only food restriction I of which I’m aware.

There are those who suggest that a heavily alkaline diet helps fight cancer, but there is no scientific proof of that. As Dr. West has said:

“Tarceva [and Iressa] is best absorbed from the stomach’s normally acidic environment.

I don’t know any oncologist who recommends a diet to promote alkalinization of the body chemistry, and I would contend that there is no compelling, good clinical evidence to support that concept. I know that it is a prevalent myth, but I consider it a potentially destructive one that is promoted overwhelmingly by people who are not recognized as true experts or even qualified providers of health care, and it is one of the concepts I would least want my own patients to follow. This is just one opinion, but it always concerns me to hear of someone following a practice that I believe is well intentioned but more likely to be detrimental then beneficial.”

I doubt that your oncologist is such a proponent, since he would most likely also recommend avoiding many other kinds of acidic foods.

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Jul 2008 Wife Liz (51/never smoker) Dx Stage IV NSCLC EGFR exon 19
4 cycles Carbo/alimta, 65% shrinkage
Tarceva maintenance
Mar 2010 progression, added Alimta, stable
Sep 2010 multiple brain mets, WBR
Oct 2010 large pericardial effusion, tamponade
Jan 2011 progression, start abraxane
Jun 2011-New liver, brain mets, add Tarceva
Oct 2011-Dx Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis; pulsed Tarceva
At rest Nov 4 2011
Since then:

August 29, 2015 at 10:32 am  #1270990    


Have no idea where you’re located, but along with Jim I’ve never heard that one before. And according to some in alternative medicine, the bromelain in pineapple can actually help cancer patients. And grapes have their own alternatives. I’d ask that doctor to explain his comment.
Take care, Judy

Stage IIIA adeno, dx 7/2010. SRS then chemo carbo/alimta 4x. NED as of 10/2011.
Local recurrence, surgery to remove LRL 8/29/13. 5.2cm involved pleura. Chemo carbo/alimta x3. NED

August 31, 2015 at 2:46 am  #1271012    


Thanks Jim and Judy,

My Dad is located in India but his oncologist is trained in the US. He is certainly not a proponent of alternative therapy, unless there is a proof available. So this suggestion surprised us. He has given a diet during chemo sessions, mainly to avoid food borne infections. That makes sense but this suggestion he gave last time, my Dad went for a follow up after second chemo (of second set).

My Dad wanted to ask him the explanation but this oncologist is so busy and has so many patients to see on daily basis that he really can’t give more than 5 minutes to every patient. So asking more question that really required, makes you feel really guilty.

Second thing is, I may have asked this before, my Dad has a tendency to drop platelets numbers as chemo progresses. During his first set last year, the last chemo session (6th), was postponed as he didn’t have enough platelets. To avoid this scenario repeating itself, my Dad got a prescription for some multivitamin preparation (although OTC otherwise, specifically recommended by the oncologist). This multivitamin contains beta carotene, alpha tocoherol and alpha lipoic acid. From my quick search on Pubmed, antioxidants are no-no in early stages of lung cancer, as it progresses lung cancer.

Does anyone know if one can take antioxidants, when taking chemo or in the state of progressed lung cancer? The oncologist must have thought of something when suggesting this, but we can’t figure out if this will backfire eventually.

Thanks a lot in advance.

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  deltaforce.
  • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  deltaforce.
August 31, 2015 at 12:40 pm  #1271022    
catdander forum moderator
catdander forum moderator

You want to stay away from antioxidant supplements but whole food should be fine. Supplements contain concentrations of the antioxidant that may counteract chemotherapy’s ability to kill cancer cells. It’s not thought that eating any types of foods high in antioxidants have the ability to do counteract chemo.

A multivitamin is thought to be fine. If I thought I could find it I’d paste a quote from Dr. West who said drinking a couple of Ensure Plus’ a day is fine and they have daily plus supplies of vitamins.

This may be helpful.

All the best of luck,

September 1, 2015 at 1:30 pm  #1271033    
Dr Walko
Dr Walko


I’m stumped with this one as well. I think others have already brought up some of the things I would consider like drug-food interactions with erlotinib or concern over sugar, but not sure why those two fruits. I would be interested to hear the doctor’s rationale. Sorry I cannot help more.

Best Wishes,
Dr. Walko

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