Radiation Oncology/Cachexia

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Treatment[edit]

These medications treat the loss of appetite and weight loss but do not treat the cachexia itself.

Medications:

  • Corticosteroids:
    • Stimulate appetite, but effect lasts only for 4-8 weeks, and does not lead to weight gain.
  • Dronabinol (Marinol)
    • Stimulates appetite but does not clearly lead to weight gain
  • Megestrol (Megace)
    • Most potent
  • Anabolic steroids: nandrolone, fluoxymesterone, oxandrolone (increases lean tissue mass)

Nutritional supplements:

  • Boost, Ensure, etc.
    • Boost (Website) - 240 Cal per 8 oz can. Boost Breeze - 160 Cal (8 oz).
    • Boost Plus - 360 Cal (8 oz)
    • Boost High Protein - 240 Cal (8 oz), 15 g protein
    • Ensure (Website) - 250 Cal (8 oz).
    • Ensure Plus - 350 Cal (8 oz)
    • Ensure High Protein - 230 Cal (8 oz)
  • ProSure - Website
    • eicosapentaenoic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) + protein + calories.
    • Provides 300 Cals (17 g protein) per can.
    • Use 2 cans per day.
    • Does not require prescription.
  • Juven - Website
    • HMB (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate), arginine and glutamine.
    • Use: 2 servings per day (one packet per serving). Provides 150 Cal/day (75 Cal/pkg).
    • Does not require prescription

Exercise:

  • Weight training

Studies[edit]

Randomized:

Corticosteroids vs Megesterol

  • Mayo, 1999 (1992-96) - PMID 10506633 — "Randomized comparison of megestrol acetate versus dexamethasone versus fluoxymesterone for the treatment of cancer anorexia/cachexia." Loprinzi CL et al. J Clin Oncol. 1999 Oct;17(10):3299-306.
    • 475 pts. Similar efficacy for decadron (0.75 mg qid) and megace (800 mg qd = 5x160), but differing toxicities.