Early recognition of malnutrition and cachexia in the cancer patient: a position paper of a European School of Oncology Task Force

ESMO (European School of Medical Oncology), M Aapro, J Arends, F Bozzetti, K Fearon, S M Grunberg, J Herrstedt, J Hopkinson, N Jacquelin-Ravel, A Jatoi, S Kaasa, F Strasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Weight loss and cachexia are common, reduce tolerance of cancer treatment and the likelihood of response, and independently predict poor outcome.

METHODS: A group of experts met under the auspices of the European School of Oncology to review the literature and-on the basis of the limited evidence at present-make recommendations for malnutrition and cachexia management and future research.

CONCLUSIONS: Our focus should move from end-stage wasting to supporting patients' nutritional and functional state throughout the increasingly complex and prolonged course of anti-cancer treatment. When inadequate nutrient intake predominates (malnutrition), this can be managed by conventional nutritional support. In the presence of systemic inflammation/altered metabolism (cachexia), a multi-modal approach including novel therapeutic agents is required. For all patients, oncologists should consider three supportive care issues: ensuring sufficient energy and protein intake, maintaining physical activity to maintain muscle mass and (if present) reducing systemic inflammation. The results of phase II/III trials based on novel drug targets (e.g. cytokines, ghrelin receptor, androgen receptor, myostatin) are expected in the next 2 years. If effective therapies emerge, early detection of malnutrition and cachexia will be increasingly important in the hope that timely intervention can improve both patient-centered and oncology outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1492-9
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Body Composition
  • Cachexia
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Prognosis
  • Weight Loss


Dive into the research topics of 'Early recognition of malnutrition and cachexia in the cancer patient: a position paper of a European School of Oncology Task Force'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this