The biochemical basis of metabolism in cancer cachexia

Amanda J Tijerina
Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing: DCCN 2004, 23 (6): 237-43
Cancer cachexia is a syndrome of progressive body wasting characterized by loss of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle mass. It is the most common side effect of malignancy occurring in approximately one-half of untreated cancer patients. The pathophysiology of cancer cachexia is not fully understood; however, studies have shown that cytokines are important in the alteration of carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism. This leads to a shorter survival time and a decreased response to therapy. Cachexia is often found before any signs or symptoms of the cancer. An uncertainty with cachexia is whether nutritional support is feeding the patient or the tumor. Often, cachexia is not responsive to simple nutritional interventions. Furthermore, appetite stimulants, cytokine inhibitors, and Cori cycle inhibitors have been used to treat cancer cachexia.

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