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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1994 Mar-Apr;18(2):148-53.

Parenteral vs enteral nutrition in tumor-bearing rats.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, OH 45267-0558.


The development of cachexia may complicate cancer therapy, yet controversy exists concerning its nutritional management. For example, use of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) may not be appropriate because of gut atrophy, possible stimulation of tumor growth, and lack of total host protein repletion. In the present experiment, host and tumor responses were compared after identical parenteral or enteral nutritional supplementation (EN). Eighteen days after subcutaneous inoculation of adult male Fischer-344 rats with fresh methylcholanthrene-induced sarcoma (tumor-bearing [TB] rats), catheters were placed into either the external jugular vein or the stomach. Four days later, rats were started on an 11-day course of either TPN or EN with a Freamine-III-based formula (amino acids = 6%, dextrose = 21.5%, lipid = 1.5%). When the rats were killed, there was no difference in tumor weight between the various TB groups. Carcass weight was increased significantly in both the TB-TPN and TB-EN groups, and there was an elevation in gastrocnemius protein content in both groups compared with the TB-rat food group. Small intestine protein was preserved in the TB-EN group to the level observed in the control-rat food animals. Total lipids in the liver were increased in both TB-TPN and TB-EN groups; however, the magnitude of the increase was less in the TB-EN animals. Neither treatment resulted in complete protein repletion of tumor-bearing rats. EN may be more appropriate than TPN in that gut mass is preserved. The maintenance of gut mucosa may prove to be beneficial in the treatment of the depleted, immunocompromised, and metabolically stressed host.

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