Anamorelin effectively relieves anorexia-cachexia in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a study published in Palliative Care: Research and Treatment.

Cachexia is a commonly reported syndrome in patients with advanced cancer and presents as weight loss, anorexia, muscle breakdown, and is associated with poor prognoses in patients. Previous studies have demonstrated that anamorelin, an analogue of the satiety hormone ghrelin, may improve cachexia symptoms.

In this study, data from three phase 2 studies and two phase 3 studies are presented.

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In a phase 2, blinded, crossover study, 16 patients were randomly assigned to anamorelin 50 mg once daily or placebo for 3 days. After a 3 to 7 day washout period, the patients switched arms. Body weight increased by 0.77 kg in patients receiving anamorelin, whereas a 0.33-kg loss was seen in patients receiving placebo (P =.016).

In a second phase 2 study, this one a 3-day crossover design study, 82 patients with various solid tumors randomly received anamorelin or placebo. Patients in the anamorelin group and placebo group experienced a weight change of 1.89±0.53 kg and –0.20±0.52 kg, respectively (P =.0006).

In the final presented phase 2 study, researchers enrolled 226 patients to receive anamorelin 50 mg, anamorelin 100 mg, or placebo. Patients who received anamorelin 100 mg gained 0.14 kg, while weight changes in patients receiving anamorelin 50 mg or placebo were –0.3 kg and –1.32 kg, respectively. The average difference seen in patients receiving anamorelin 100 mg vs 50 mg was 1.47 kg (P  =.0005).