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Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Apr;196:135-159. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2018.12.003. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Body composition and sarcopenia: The next-generation of personalized oncology and pharmacology?

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Department of Medical Oncology, CAncer Research for PErsonalized Medicine (CARPEM), Paris Centre Teaching Hospitals, Paris Descartes University, USPC, Paris, France.
Department of Radiology, Henri Mondor University Hospital, Créteil, France.
Institut NeuroMyoGène (INMG) CNRS 5310 - INSERM U1217 - UCBL, Lyon, France.
Department of Medical Oncology, Curie Institute, Versailles Saint-Quentin University, Saint-Cloud, France, and GERCOR group, Paris, France. Electronic address:


Body composition has gained increasing attention in oncology in recent years due to fact that sarcopenia has been revealed to be a strong prognostic indicator for survival across multiple stages and cancer types and a predictive factor for toxicity and surgery complications. Accumulating evidence over the last decade has unraveled the "pharmacology" of sarcopenia. Lean body mass may be more relevant to define drug dosing than the "classical" body surface area or flat-fixed dosing in patients with cancer. Since sarcopenia has a major impact on patient survival and quality of life, therapeutic interventions aiming at reducing muscle loss have been developed and are being prospectively evaluated in randomized controlled trials. It is now acknowledged that this supportive care dimension of oncological management is essential to ensure the success of any anticancer treatment. The field of sarcopenia and body composition in cancer is developing quickly, with (i) the newly identified concept of sarcopenic obesity defined as a specific pathophysiological entity, (ii) unsolved issues regarding the best evaluation modalities and cut-off for definition of sarcopenia on imaging, (iii) first results from clinical trials evaluating physical activity, and (iv) emerging body-composition-tailored drug administration schemes. In this context, we propose a comprehensive review providing a panoramic approach of the clinical, pharmacological and therapeutic implications of sarcopenia and body composition in oncology.


Cachexia; Chemotherapy; Sarcopenic obesity; Targeted therapy; Toxicity

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