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Nutrition. 2000 Oct;16(10):1013-4.

Metabolic abnormalities in cachexia and anorexia.

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Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Institute, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.


An increased glucose requirement by many solid tumors produces an increased metabolic demand on the liver, resulting in an increased energy expenditure. In addition, several cytokines and tumor catabolic products have been suggested as being responsible for the depletion of adipose tissue and skeletal-muscle mass in cachexia. A sulphated glycoprotein of molecular mass 24 kDa, produced by cachexia-inducing tumors and present in the urine of cancer patients actively losing weight, has been shown to be capable of inducing direct muscle catabolism in vitro and a state of cachexia in vivo, with specific loss of the non-fat carcass mass. In vitro studies have shown the bioactivity of this proteolysis-inducing factor to be attenuated by the polyunsaturated fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid. Preliminary clinical studies have shown that eicosapentaenoic acid stabilizes body weight and protein and fat reserves in patients with pancreatic carcinoma. Further trials are required to confirm the efficacy of eicosapentaenoic acid and to determine the anticachectic activity in other types of cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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