JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Anorexia-cachexia syndrome in pancreatic cancer: recent advances and new pharmacological approach

Ilaria Ronga, Fernando Gallucci, Ferdinando Riccardi, Generoso Uomo
Advances in Medical Sciences 2014, 59 (1): 1-6
24797965
About 80% of all pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients suffer from a wasting syndrome referred to as the "cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome" (CACS) characterized by abnormally low weight, weakness and loss of skeletal muscle mass with or without loss of body fat, which directly impacts overall survival, quality of life, and physical activity. The aim of this review was to examine recent findings about CACS' pathophysiology and to describe the current pharmacological approaches. In recent years many efforts were made to improve our knowledge of CACS; currently we know that cachexia arises from a complex and multifactorial interaction between various mechanisms including inflammation, anorexia/malnutrition, alterations of protein and lipid metabolism; consequently its management requires multidisciplinary and multipharmacological approach that should address the different causes underlying this clinical event. On these premises, several drugs have been proposed starting from the first pharmacological treatment based on progestational agents or corticosteroids; most of them are in the preclinical phase, but some have already reached the clinical experimentation stage. In conclusion, to date, there is no standard effective treatment and further studies are needed to unravel the basic mechanisms underlying CACS and to develop newer therapeutic strategies with the hope to improve the quality of life of pancreatic cancer patients.

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