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Evolving concepts on perioperative nutrition of sarcopenic cancer patients

Published:October 18, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejso.2022.10.008

      Abstract

      The recent recognition of the association of sarcopenia with an increased risk of complications after a surgical procedure calls for rethinking the proper approach of the perioperative care in cancer patients.
      Sarcopenia is broadly considered in literature according to three different definitions: loss of muscle mass, loss of muscle mass plus reduced muscle function and myosteatosis.
      The aim of this short review on this issue is to define the excess of risk by type of primary and of surgical procedure, depending on the definition of sarcopenia, to speculate on this association (casual versus causal) and to examine the current therapeutical approaches.
      The analysis of the data shows that sarcopenia, defined as loss of muscle mass plus reduced muscle function, has the higher predictive power for the occurrence of postoperative complications than the two other definitions, and any definition of sarcopenia works better than the usual indexes or scores of surgical risk.
      Our analysis supports the concept that: a) sarcopenia is frequently associated with inflammation, but inflammation cannot be considered the only or the absolute cause for sarcopenia, b) sarcopenia is not a simple marker of risk but can have a direct role in the increase of risk.
      Data on perioperative care of sarcopenic cancer patients are scanty but a correct approach cannot rely on nutritional support alone but on a combined approach of optimized nutrition and exercise, hopefully associated with an anti-inflammatory treatment. This strategy should be applied proactively in keeping with the recent recommendations of the American Society of Clinical Oncology for the medical treatment of advanced cancer patients even if a clear demonstration of effectiveness is still lacking.

      Keywords

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