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Mechanisms of Ovarian Cancer-Associated Cachexia.

Endocrinology 2023 November 21
Cancer-associated cachexia occurs in 50% to 80% of cancer patients and is responsible for 20% to 30% of cancer-related deaths. Cachexia limits survival and treatment outcomes, and is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality during cancer. Ovarian cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in women, and recent studies have begun to highlight the prevalence and clinical impact of cachexia in this population. Here, we review the existing understanding of cachexia pathophysiology and summarize relevant studies assessing ovarian cancer-associated cachexia in clinical and preclinical studies. In clinical studies, there is increased evidence that reduced skeletal muscle mass and quality associate with worse outcomes in subjects with ovarian cancer. Mouse models of ovarian cancer display cachexia, often characterized by muscle and fat wasting alongside inflammation, although they remain underexplored relative to other cachexia-associated cancer types. Certain soluble factors have been identified and successfully targeted in these models, providing novel therapeutic targets for mitigating cachexia during ovarian cancer. However, given the relatively low number of studies, the translational relevance of these findings is yet to be determined and requires more research. Overall, our current understanding of ovarian cancer-associated cachexia is insufficient and this review highlights the need for future research specifically aimed at exploring mechanisms of ovarian cancer-associated cachexia by using unbiased approaches and animal models representative of the clinical landscape of ovarian cancer.

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