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Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 1996 Aug;10(4):791-800.

Cachexia and anorexia in malignancy.

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College of Pharmacy, University of Texas at Austin, USA.


The cancer cachexia syndrome may be present in up to 80% of patients with cancer. Malnutrition resulting from cancer cachexia is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Anorexia, tissue wasting, and weight loss appear to be the result of metabolic abnormalities caused by host cytokine production in response to the tumor. The host cytokines include TNF-alpha, IL-1, IL-6, IFN-gamma, and D-factor. Nutritional support in the patient with cancer has been controversial, with the belief that tumor growth may be augmented; however, human studies fail to confirm that tumor growth occurs in excess of normal tissue growth. The efficacy of nutritional support in the cancer has not been adequately studied. Considerable interest exists in providing nutritional support pharmacologically to modify the response to malignancy.

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