Efficacy of Medium-Chain Triglycerides Compared With Long-Chain Triglycerides in Total Parenteral Nutrition in Patients With Digestive Tract Cancer Undergoing Surgery

Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2005 Nov;21(11):487-94. doi: 10.1016/S1607-551X(09)70156-1.


The objectives of this prospective, randomized study were to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of the short-term use of medium-chain triglyceride/long-chain triglyceride (MCT/LCT) fat emulsions, and to compare the hematologic and biochemical effects of MCT/LCT fat emulsions with LCT fat emulsions in gastrointestinal (GI) tract cancer patients following surgery. Thirty patients with GI tract cancer requiring total parenteral nutrition (TPN) were equally randomized to receive MCT/LCT or LCT emulsions for 7 days. After 7 days, no sign of complications directly related to administration of fat emulsions was observed and there were no marked differences in anthropometry, length of hospital stay, and surgical complication rates between the two groups. However, MCT/LCT significantly improved plasma prealbumin concentration (p = 0.005). Changes in complements C3 and C4, total lymphocyte count, and immunoglobulins after TPN were not significantly different between the groups. Serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels remained constant. The serum insulin level in the MCT/LCT group was higher than in the LCT group (p = 0.048). Our data revealed that MCT/LCT fat emulsions significantly enhanced nutritional status in patients with GI tract cancer, indicated by higher prealbumin levels, which might be partially due to the higher circulating insulin levels in the MCT/LCT group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Nutritional Status
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total*
  • Prealbumin / analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Triglycerides / administration & dosage*


  • Insulin
  • Prealbumin
  • Triglycerides
  • Nitrogen