In a nutshell
This study investigated the occurrence of cachexia (CX; weight loss and muscle wasting) in patients with advanced colorectal cancer after first-line therapy. Researchers suggested that CX is present in half of these patients within 24 weeks after starting first-line therapy.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the US. A significant number of patients present with advanced cancer at diagnosis. The progression of the disease can cause symptoms such as CX. This disorder weakens the muscles. Therefore, it can reduce the activities of daily living and cause poor quality of life. Prior studies showed that CX after the start of chemotherapy negatively affects the ability to tolerate cancer therapies. It can also, shorten survival and be associated with other negative side effects. However, the effect of CX in patients who progressed after their first-line treatment is still not clear.
Methods & findings
This study included 150 patients with advanced colorectal cancer. All participants underwent first-line chemotherapy. CX was defined as weight loss of 5% or more from their initial body weight or a 2% or more weight loss in patients with a body mass index (BMI; a measure of weight in relation to height) of less than 20 kg/m2 within the past 6 months.
50.7% of patients were diagnosed with CX at 24 weeks after starting chemotherapy. By the end of the study, 91.3% had CX.
Within 12 weeks of starting therapy, more patients who had disease progression had CX (60%) compared to those with stable disease (40.4%) and those who had a partial response to treatment (42.4%). In patients with CX within 24 weeks, severe appetite loss and fatigue were more common.
The bottom line
This study concluded that CX is present in half the patients with advanced colorectal cancer within 24 weeks after first-line therapy. The authors suggest monitoring for weight loss in patients who start chemotherapy for colorectal cancer.
The fine print
This study was based on medical records. Some information might have been incomplete. This might affect the results.
Published By :
Advances in therapy
Dec 01, 2020
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