Muscle Loss Not Always Correlated With Loss of Function, Strength in Cancer Cachexia

Share this content:
In this study, patients with thoracic and gastrointestinal cancers with established cachexia were evaluated at 4- and 8-week marks.
In this study, patients with thoracic and gastrointestinal cancers with established cachexia were evaluated at 4- and 8-week marks.

Specific designed and targeted physical interventions over a reasonable duration of time may benefit patients with cachexia, according to a study published in Supportive Care in Cancer

Many studies evaluating the impact of exercise among patients with cancer select participants according to disease stage rather than weight loss or other cachexia-based factors. The rate in which patients' strength and physical function declines among those with cachexia requires further exploration. 

For this study, researchers enrolled 50 patients with thoracic and gastrointestinal cancers with established cachexia. Eligible patients had greater than 5% unintentional weight loss in 6 months or body mass index (BMI) of less than 20 plus a 2% weight loss. Assessments including BMI, muscle strength, balance, and physical functioning (10-meter walk time and timed up-and-go [TUG]) were completed at baseline and repeated at 4 and 8 weeks. 

Of the original 50 participants, 54% (27) completed the 4-week assessment and 40% (20) completed the 8-week assessment. Baseline characteristics between participants who completed the study did not differ significantly compared with those who did not. 

Results showed that despite high levels of attrition, patients who completed both the 4- and 8-week assessments did not experience significant changes in strength and performance measures (P>.05), suggesting that nearly one-third of study patients may benefit from targeted interventions over a reasonable duration.

The authors noted that patients with thoracic cancer had lower muscle strength and function (P<.05). 

“The findings highlight the potential utility of measures of task performance, easily undertaken in clinical settings, as outcomes reflective of perceived functional ability and the need to investigate — in a larger study population — baseline predictors of functional stability and rehabilitation potential in the setting of established cachexia,” concluded the authors.

Reference

Gale N, Wasley D, Roberts S, et al. A longitudinal study of muscle strength and function in patients with cancer cachexia [published online June 2, 2018]. Support Care Cancer. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4297-8

You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters



Regimen and Drug Listings

GET FULL LISTINGS OF TREATMENT Regimens and Drug INFORMATION

Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs