The scientific rationale for optimizing nutritional support in cancer

Richard J E Skipworth, Kenneth C H Fearon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer patients lose weight as a result of the anorexia-cachexia syndrome, and this weight loss is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Thus, nutritional support to arrest or reverse weight loss is of paramount importance in the management of Cachexia cancer patients. Persistent tumour-induced metabolic changes result, however, in a suboptimal response to such support, making nutritional maintenance or improvement difficult targets to achieve. Mechanisms involved in the blockade to anabolism in cancer cachexia include alterations in skeletal muscle and hepatic protein metabolism, and reduced physical activity. Mediators underlying these mechanisms of weight loss include proinflammatory cytokines, tumour-specific cachectic factors, and neuroendocrine mediators of muscle catabolism. The complex mix of different mediators renders unimodal nutritional intervention a strategy that is unlikely to succeed completely. Therefore, clinical trials using combination therapies or immunonutrition are required for future success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-7
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The scientific rationale for optimizing nutritional support in cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this