Energy metabolism in cachexia

Maria Rohm, Anja Zeigerer, Juliano Machado, Stephan Herzig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Cachexia is a wasting disorder that accompanies many chronic diseases including cancer and results from an imbalance of energy requirements and energy uptake. In cancer cachexia, tumor-secreted factors and/or tumor–host interactions cause this imbalance, leading to loss of adipose tissue and skeletal and cardiac muscle, which weakens the body. In this review, we discuss how energy enters the body and is utilized by the different organs, including the gut, liver, adipose tissue, and muscle, and how these organs contribute to the energy wasting observed in cachexia. We also discuss futile cycles both between the organs and within the cells, which are often used to fine-tune energy supply under physiologic conditions. Ultimately, understanding the complex interplay of pathologic energy-wasting circuits in cachexia can bring us closer to identifying effective treatment strategies for this devastating wasting disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere47258
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • adipose tissue
  • cachexia
  • inflammation
  • liver
  • skeletal muscle


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