Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) in adult patients treated with chronic peritoneal dialysis (CPD), which is highly prevalent and frequently severe in its manifestation, poses a significant therapeutic dilemma. The causes of PEM include inflammation, low nutrient intake, nutrient losses during dialysis, metabolic acidemia, coexisting illnesses, and possibly the endocrine disorders of uremia. Treatment strategies for PEM in CPD patients include the following: attempt to treat the potentially reversible causes of anorexia, increase nutrient intake (by nutritional counseling, oral food supplements, consideration of appetite stimulants and intraperitonial amino acid solutions), and the correction of metabolic acidosis. Coexisting illnesses engendering PEM should be treated. Experimental evidence suggests that such agents as anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-I, and L-carnitine may engender positive protein balance in these individuals. Finally, the use of anti-inflammatory agents to improve the nutritional status of malnourished CPD patients remains to be defined. There is a need to carry out clinical trials that examine whether an improvement in the nutritional status of CPD patients is associated with an improvement in their mortality, morbidity and/or quality of life.