Effects of pediatric cancer and its treatment on nutritional status: a systematic review

Raquel Revuelta Iniesta, Ilenia Paciarotti, Mark F. H. Brougham, Jane M. McKenzie, David Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Context: Malnutrition in pediatric cancer is common worldwide, yet its prevalence and effects on clinical outcomes remain unclear.

Objective: The aim of this review was to evaluate primary research reporting the prevalence of malnutrition in pediatric cancer patients and to assess the effects of pediatric cancer and its treatment on nutritional status.

Data Sources: Electronic databases of MEDLINE, CINHAL, and PubMed were searched (January 1990-February 2013).

Study Selection: Studies of patients aged <18 years who were diagnosed with and treated for cancer and for whom measurements of anthropometry were reported and included. The primary outcome was the prevalence of malnutrition (undernutrition and overnutrition), expressed as body mass index (BMI), in children diagnosed with and treated for cancer.

Data Extraction: Evidence was appraised critically by employing the Critical Appraisal Skills Program tool, and data was extracted from original articles.

Data Synthesis: A total of 46 studies were included, most of which were considered to be of low quality on the basis of heterogeneity in both the criteria and the measurements used to define malnutrition. Undernutrition was identified by measuring BMI, weight loss, mid-upper arm circumference, and triceps skinfold thickness, while overnutrition was assessed using BMI. Overall, the prevalence of undernutrition ranged from 0% to 65% and overnutrition from 8% to 78%. Finally, undernutrition in pediatric cancer at diagnosis was associated with poor clinical outcomes in 6 of 9 studies.

Conclusion: The possibility of a high prevalence of malnutrition in childhood cancer, indicated by the studies reviewed, highlights the need for high-quality, population-based, longitudinal studies using standard criteria to identify malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-295
Number of pages20
JournalNutrition Reviews
Volume73
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

Keywords

  • malnutrition
  • overnutrition
  • pediatric cancer
  • undernutrition
  • ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC-LEUKEMIA
  • BODY-MASS INDEX
  • PROTEIN-ENERGY MALNUTRITION
  • CHILDHOOD-CANCER
  • HISPANIC CHILDREN
  • PROGNOSTIC FACTOR
  • GROWTH-HORMONE
  • SOLID TUMORS
  • RISK-FACTORS
  • FOLLOW-UP

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