Send to

Choose Destination
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003 Mar 1;17(5):677-82.

Oesophageal cancer and cachexia: the effect of short-term treatment with thalidomide on weight loss and lean body mass.

Author information

Department of Gastroenterology and Research and Developent, Derby City Hospital, NHS Trust, UK.



Cachexia is common in patients with advanced cancer and has a direct impact on well-being and mortality.


To test the hypothesis that thalidomide can promote weight gain and lean body mass in patients with advanced oesophageal cancer.


In an open-label study, 11 patients with non-obstructing and inoperable oesophageal cancer were established on an isocaloric diet for 2 weeks, followed by 2 weeks on thalidomide, 200 mg daily. The primary end-points were weight change and lean body mass. Secondary end-points were quality of life and changes in resting energy expenditure.


Ten patients completed the study protocol. The average caloric intake remained the same throughout the study period in all patients. Nine of 10 patients (95% confidence interval, 0.60, 0.98) lost weight on diet alone. The mean weight gain on thalidomide in the following 2 weeks was 1.29 kg (median, 1.25 kg). A similar trend was shown in the lean body mass. Eight of nine patients (95% confidence interval, 0.57, 0.98) initially lost lean body mass on diet alone (missing data in one patient). The mean gain in lean body mass on thalidomide in the following 2 weeks was 1.75 kg (median, 1.33 kg).


Thalidomide treatment appeared to reverse the loss of weight and lean body mass over the 2-week trial period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center