Novel treatments for cancer cachexia

Maurizio Bossola, Fabio Pacelli, Giovan Battista Doglietto
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs 2007, 16 (8): 1241-53
Cancer cachexia is a debilitating and life-threatening syndrome characterised by anorexia, body weight loss, loss of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle, and accounts for > or = 20% of deaths in neoplastic patients. Cancer cachexia significantly impairs quality of life and response to antineoplastic therapies, increasing the morbidity and mortality of cancer patients. Muscle wasting is the most important phenotypic feature of cancer cachexia and the principle cause of function impairment, fatigue and respiratory complications, and is mainly related to a hyperactivation of muscle proteolytic pathways. Existing therapeutic strategies have proven to be only partially effective. In the last decade, the correction of anorexia, the inhibition of catabolic processes and the stimulation of anabolic pathways in muscle has been attempted pharmacologically, giving encouraging results in animal models and through preliminary clinical trials.

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