Muscle wasting in cancer cachexia: clinical implications, diagnosis, and emerging treatment strategies

Shontelle Dodson, Vickie E Baracos, Aminah Jatoi, William J Evans, David Cella, James T Dalton, Mitchell S Steiner
Annual Review of Medicine 2011, 62: 265-79
Cancer cachexia is a complex metabolic condition characterized by loss of skeletal muscle. Common clinical manifestations include muscle wasting, anemia, reduced caloric intake, and altered immune function, which contribute to increased disability, fatigue, diminished quality of life, and reduced survival. The prevalence of cachexia and the impact of this disorder on the patient and family underscore the need for effective management strategies. Dietary supplementation and appetite stimulation alone are inadequate to reverse the underlying metabolic abnormalities of cancer cachexia and have limited long-term impact on patient quality of life and survival. Therapies that can increase muscle mass and physical performance may be a promising option; however, there are currently no drugs approved for the prevention or treatment of cancer cachexia. Several agents are in clinical development, including anabolic agents, such as selective androgen receptor modulators and drugs targeting inflammatory cytokines that promote skeletal muscle catabolism.

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