Nutrition can improve outcomes in cancer care

Malnutrition has many well-documented and negative effects for the cancer patient, including a negative prognosis, shorter survival, reduced response to treatment, higher hospital readmission rates and a lower quality of life.1 At Danone Nutricia Research we study specific nutrients and their potential role in improving outcomes for cancer patients:

• The loss of lean body mass is linked to negative clinical outcomes.2, 3, 4  Cancer patients have higher protein needs than the general population, as highlighted in the ESPEN guidelines where it is recommended that cancer patients consume >1g of protein//kg of body weight and preferably 1.5g/kg13 (vs 0.75g/kg for the general healthy population).5 Therefore, providing the right amount of quality protein is a prerequisite in supporting the maintenance of muscle mass.

• Due to anti-inflammatory properties, the use of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) can help to stabilise or improve appetite, food intake, lean body mass and body weight, as highlighted in ESPEN guidelines on nutrition in cancer patients.5

• Micronutrient deficiencies are highly prevalent in cancer patients due to reduced food intake, and can be further aggravated by cancer treatment.6,7

• Dietary fibre is an essential component of a balanced diet, which is often limited in cancer patients.8,9 Furthermore, patients undergoing chemo- and/or radiotherapy are more likely to suffer from diarrhoea. Therefore, delivering the right quality of fibre can help to improve stool consistency for these patients.10

Evidence-based benefits of medical nutrition

There is a growing body of evidence that supports the use of medical nutrition in cancer patients. These studies on nutritional interventions in cancer patients show promising results on:

  • Improving nutritional intake, reducing weight loss11, 12, 13
  • Improving quality of life12
  • Reducing treatment related toxicities and complications11, 13, 14
  • Reducing length of hospital stay14, 15

Martin, et al. J Clin Oncol, 2015.
Kazemi-Bajestani SMR, et al. Semin Cell Dev Biol, 2016;54:2-10.
Malietzis G, et al. 2014.  Eur J Surg Oncol . DOI: 10.1016/j.ejso.2014.10.056″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejso.2014.10.056.
Prado C. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2013;16:525–533. .
Arends J, et al. ESPEN guidelines on nutrition in cancer patients Clin Nutr, 2016; epub.
Grober U, et al. Nutrients, 2016;8(3):163.
Ströhle A, et al. Oncology Reports, 2010;24(4):815-28.
Mardas et al. Support Care Cancer, 2016;24:2619–2625.
Surwillo et al Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig, 2013;64(3):225-233.
Garcia-Peris P, et al. Eur J Clin Nutr,  2016;70(2):170-174.
Burden ST, et al.  J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle, 2017.
Baldwin et al. J Natl Cancer Inst, 2012;104(5):371-385 .
Kabata P, et al. Support Cancer Care, 2015 ;23(2) :365-70. .
Manasek V. et al. Klin Onkol, 2016.
De Waele et al. Appetite, 2016;91:298-301.