Parenteral nutrition prolongs the survival of patients associated with malignant gastrointestinal obstruction

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2007 Nov-Dec;31(6):508-10. doi: 10.1177/0148607107031006508.


Background: Many patients with advanced cancers have associated gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction. Parenteral nutrition (PN) is indicated in patients with a dysfunctional GI tract, but the role of PN in patients' survival is still controversial. The present study was retrospectively conducted to verify if there are any long-term survivors living for more than 1 year after initiation of PN without food or drink in patients with malignant GI tract obstruction resulting from advanced cancers.

Methods: One hundred fifteen adult patients with malignant GI obstruction were identified over a 6-year period at a palliative-care setting. Their median age was 51 years (range, 31-74 years), and 62 (54%) were women and 53 men (46%). All selected patients had malignant GI tract obstruction and started PN treatment after cessation of energy intake to time of death. Survival expectancy as a criterion was analyzed in all patients.

Results: The median time from initiation of PN to death was 6.5 months. Eleven patients survived >or=1 year and 2 patients have been alive for almost 4 years later after cessation of energy intake.

Conclusions: PN can be expected to obtain a longer survival for the patient with GI tract obstruction caused by advanced cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology
  • Intestinal Obstruction / mortality
  • Intestinal Obstruction / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Home Total / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors