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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2011 Oct;24(5):441-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2011.01188.x. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

An unblinded randomised controlled trial of preoperative oral supplements in colorectal cancer patients.

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Dietetic Service, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.



Perioperative oral supplementation has been shown to reduce post-operative complications. However, the use of preoperative standard oral supplements in a cohort of colorectal cancer patients has not been evaluated. The present study examined whether preoperative supplements are beneficial in this group.


In a randomised controlled trial, patients were assigned to receive 400 mL of oral supplement and dietary advice or dietary advice alone. Primary outcome was the number of post-operative complications. One hundred and twenty-five patients were recruited (59 randomised to the intervention group and 66 to the control group) and nine were excluded.


In the intervention group, 24 (44%) patients had a complication compared to 26 (42%) in the control group (P = 0.780). In the intervention and control groups, there were eight (15%) and 16 (25%) surgical site infections, respectively (P = 0.140) and seven (13%) and 11 (17%) chest infections, respectively (P = 0.470). Subgroup analysis for hypothesis generation included 83 (71%) weight-losing patients, where there was a significant reduction in surgical site infections using the Buzby definition (P = 0.034), although this was not the case for the Centre for Disease Control definition (P = 0.052).


There was no evidence that preoperative supplements were beneficial in reducing the number of complications, although there may be some benefit for surgical site infections in selected weight-losing preoperative patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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