Clinical impact of cachexia on survival and outcome of cancer patients.

C. Dimitriu, M. E. Martignoni, Jeaninne Bachmann, B. Fröhlich, G. Tintarescu, T. Buliga, I. Lica, G. Constantinescu, M. Beuran, H. Friess

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Approximately one half of all cancer patients experience a complex metabolic status involving progressive exhaustion of adipose and skeletal muscle tissue. This condition, known as cachexia, is responsible for more than 20% of the overall deaths in cancer patients. Although its main mechanisms remain unknown, several hypotheses have been proposed. One of the pathogenic mechanisms involves leptin and hypothalamic neuropeptide-containing pathways. Orexigenic and anorexigenic neuropeptides are down-regulated respectively upregulated as a result of cancer. Other pathogenic theories consider tumour derived factors, such as LMF (Lipid Mobilising Factor) and PIF (Proteolysis-inducing Factor), to be responsible for the weight losing pattern of cancer patients via activation of various catabolic pathways (e.g. ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic-pathway, etc.). Despite the controversial discussion of cachexia-inducing mechanisms it is clear that proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFalpha, IFNgamma, IL-1, IL-6 and IL-8, are linked to all pathways that induce cachexia. Although only limited treatment exists for patients with cancer cachexia, recent studies with eicosapaentanoic acid showed promising effects in reversing weight losing pattern of cachectic patients. Cytokine targeted monoclonal antibodies, cytokine traps and genetic therapies are also evaluated for future therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-185
Number of pages13
JournalRomanian Journal of Internal Medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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