A meta-analysis of patients with lung cancer found that malnourishment was associated with poorer clinical outcomes and lower quality of life (QOL). These findings were published in Nutrients.

Malnutrition is a prognostic parameter for clinical outcomes among patients with lung cancer and occurs in 34.5% to 69% of patients. Researchers from Wroclaw Medical University in Poland sought to evaluate the relationship between nutritional status and outcomes by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis.

A total of 12 studies published between 2005 and 2020 were included. The studies assessed nutritional status using questionnaires; signs of anorexia or cachexia; and assessing BMI, weight loss, or albumin levels.

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Among a group of 289 patients who were well-nourished and 737 who were malnourished, QOL was significantly affected (g=1.52; 95% CI, 0.67-2.36; P <.001) in 6 studies. This comparison had significant heterogeneity (I2=97.1%; P <.001).

All components of QOL were significantly affected by malnourishment, specifically, role (g=1.45; 95% CI, 1.31-1.59; P <.001), social (g=1.41; 95% CI, 1.27-1.56; P <.001), physical (g=1.22; 95% CI, 1.19-1.46; P <.001), emotional (g=1.10; 95% CI, 0.97-1.24; P <.001), and cognitive (g=0.91; 95% CI, 0.76-1.06; P <.001) functioning domains.

In 9 studies with data on overall survival (OS) and nutritional status, OS among 1560 patients was also observed to be affected by malnourished status (hazard ratio [HR], 1.53; 95% CI, 1.25-1.86; P <.001). This comparison had significant study heterogeneity (I2=93.3%; P <.001).

A similar finding was observed in 4 papers with data on time to tumor progression (HR, 2.71; 95% CI, 1.89-3.89; P <.001) among 395 patients with no significant study heterogeneity (I2=0.0%).

This analysis was limited by combining studies that used differing methods to define malnutrition.

These findings highlighted the importance of evaluating nutritional status in patients with lung cancer, as malnutrition likely predicts poor clinical outcomes.


Polański J, Chabowski M, Świątoniowska-Lonc N, et al. Relationship between nutritional status and clinical outcome in patients treated for lung cancer. Nutrients. 2021;13(10):3332. doi:10.3390/nu13103332