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CA Cancer J Clin. 2002 Mar-Apr;52(2):72-91.

Cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome: current issues in research and management.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Molecular Medicine, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.

Abstract

Cachexia is among the most debilitating and life-threatening aspects of cancer. Associated with anorexia, fat and muscle tissue wasting, psychological distress, and a lower quality of life, cachexia arises from a complex interaction between the cancer and the host. This process includes cytokine production, release of lipid-mobilizing and proteolysis-inducing factors, and alterations in intermediary metabolism. Cachexia should be suspected in patients with cancer if an involuntary weight loss of greater than five percent of premorbid weight occurs within a six-month period. The two major options for pharmacological therapy have been either progestational agents, such as megestrol acetate, or corticosteroids. However, knowledge of the mechanisms of cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome has led to, and continues to lead to, effective therapeutic interventions for several aspects of the syndrome. These include antiserotonergic drugs, gastroprokinetic agents, branched-chain amino acids, eicosapentanoic acid, cannabinoids, melatonin, and thalidomide--all of which act on the feeding-regulatory circuitry to increase appetite and inhibit tumor-derived catabolic factors to antagonize tissue wasting and/or host cytokine release. Because weight loss shortens the survival time of cancer patients and decreases performance status, effective therapy would extend patient survival and improve quality of life.

PMID:
11929007
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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