Outcomes of novel trials for cancer cachexia

Author(s): Rony Dev, Egidio Del Fabbro, Eduardo Bruera

Cancer cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome characterized by involuntary loss of skeletal muscle and fat, reduced quality of life and decreased survival. Unlike starvation, weight loss cannot be fully reversed by increasing caloric intake. Interventions, such as nutritional counseling or currently available appetite stimulants such as megestrol acetate have limited benefits. Recently, there has been an increase in the understanding of the pathophysiology contributing to weight loss in patients with cancer. Clinical trials of various pharmacological therapies targeting the underlying pathophysiological derangements contributing to cancer cachexia are underway. A personalized approach may be needed for managing patients with anorexia–cachexia syndrome in conjunction with the best supportive care. The following narrative review will highlight novel therapies being investigated for the treatment of cancer cachexia, which can be used as a single-agent or combined in multimodal therapy.