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Ann Surg. 1979 Dec;190(6):771-81.

Reversal of protein-energy malnutrition in children during treatment of advanced neoplastic disease.


The effectiveness of enteral and parenteral feeding in supporting a satisfactory nutritional status and/or reversing protein-energy malnutrition was evaluated in 28 children, ages 1-19 (14 female) with advanced malignant disease (21 solid tumors, 7 leukemia-lymphoma). At the onset of treatment, 21 patients received intensive nutritional counseling (INC) and oral supplementation while seven received total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Sixteen of 21 patients who received INC had a decreased intake (x 48 +/- 24%) Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for kilocalories and dramatic weight loss (x 16.4 +/- 12.4%). A total of 18 patients received TPN for a mean of 24 days (7-60); kcal averaged 90 +/- 26% RDA during weight gain. At onset of TPN, the mean serum albumin, transferrin and total lymphocyte counts were 3.06 +/- 0.38 g/dl, 175 +/- 62 mg/dl, and 1102 +/- 966/mm3 respectively, 15/18 children had subnormal anthropometric measurements and 17/18 patients were anergic to recall skin test antigens. TPN for less than 9-14 days neither repleted weight, skinfold reserves, nor serum albumin concentrations (greater than 3.2 g/dl) although an early increase (p less than .02) in transferrin concentration was observed. However, TPN for 28 days supported weight gain (3.27 kg, 16 +/- 6%), increased serum albumin (0.62 +/- 0.43 g/dl, p less than .001) and transferrin (62 +/- 42, p less than .002) to normal concentrations and reversed anergy in 7/11 patients retested. This study documents the severity of protein energy malnutrition which accompanies intense treatment of children with cancer and the nutritional and immunological benefits of a 28 day course of TPN.

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