The nutritional screening tool Nutriscore was found to effectively identify patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer (CRC) who are at risk for malnutrition. These findings were presented in a European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) session at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress.1

Cachexia in cancer is characterized by weight loss of skeletal muscle mass and is associated with gradual functional deterioration. To better assess for malnutrition risk, investigators from the Institute Catala d’Oncologia in Spain used the Nutriscore to evaluate 92 patients attending their first oncology nursing visit for CRC in 2021. Patients with a Nutriscore of 5 or higher were referred to the clinical nutrition unit.

The Nutriscore instrument is based on the Malnutrition Screening Tool but includes 2 additional items about tumor location and cancer-specific treatments. In a previous study, the instrument was found to have a sensitivity of 97.3%, specificity of 95.9%, positive predictive value of 84.8%, negative predictive value of 99%, and area under the curve of 0.95.2

Continue Reading

In this study, the patient population comprised 71% men, mean age 68.6 years.

One-fifth of patients (20.6%) were referred for a full nutritional assessment. Among those referred, 57.8% had a Nutriscore of 5 or higher. The remaining patients were found to have severe malnutrition (3 patients), potential gastrointestinal toxicity secondary to treatment (1 patient), high risk for intestinal obstruction (1 patient), and moderate malnutrition (1 patient).

Combining nursing clinical criteria with the Nutriscore instrument allowed us to more effectively detect risk for malnutrition in patients with newly diagnosed CRC. “Nutriscore allows us to anticipate the nutritional needs of patients before starting cancer-specific treatments,” concluded Raquel Legido, of the Institute Catala d’Oncologia and presenter of the study.


  1. Legido R, Raventos L, Bellver M, et al. Nutriscore: nutritional screening in colorectal cancer patients previous to cancer-specific treatment. Ann Oncol. 2022;33(suppl_7):S812-S814. doi:10.1016/annonc/annonc1042
  2. Arribas L, Hurtos L, Sendros MJ, et al. NUTRISCORE: a new nutritional screening tool for oncological outpatients. Nutrition. 2017;33:297-303. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2016.07.015