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Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2009 Dec;14(4):619-32. doi: 10.1517/14728210903369351.

Update on emerging drugs for cancer cachexia.

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Basic and Clinical Myology Laboratory, Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia.


Cancer cachexia is a complex syndrome that describes the progressive muscle wasting and weakness in many cancer patients. Muscle wasting reduces the ability of affected patients to perform the tasks of daily living and causes severe fatigue, leading to a reduction in quality of life. Cancer cachexia reduces patient response to anti-neoplastic treatments, increases the risk of postoperative complications and accounts for > 20% of cancer-related deaths. The pathogenesis of cancer cachexia is multifactorial and includes anorexia, inflammation, metabolic disturbances and enhanced muscle proteolysis, and each of these presents as a potential therapeutic target for ameliorating cancer cachexia.


This review provides an update on some of the emerging drugs for cancer cachexia.


This is a review of the current status of emerging therapies for cancer cachexia.


An increasing number of studies are focused on the development of novel therapies for cancer cachexia. Initial studies concentrated on the treatment of anorexia, but now aim to attenuate inflammation or muscle proteolysis, or to use different drugs in combination so as to treat several aspects of cachexia simultaneously.


There are several existing and emerging drugs with the potential to ameliorate cancer cachexia, but the most efficacious treatment will probably come from combined drug therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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