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Review
. 2008 May;9(4):219-36.
doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2008.01.003.

The Cytokine Basis of Cachexia and Its Treatment: Are They Ready for Prime Time?

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Review

The Cytokine Basis of Cachexia and Its Treatment: Are They Ready for Prime Time?

Shing-Shing Yeh et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. .

Abstract

Cachexia is a hypercatabolic condition that is often associated with the terminal stages of many diseases, in which the patient's resting metabolic rate is high and loss of muscle and fat tissue mass occur at an alarming rate. The patient also usually has concurrent anorexia, amplifying the wasting syndrome that is cachexia. The greater the extent of cachexia (regardless of underlying disease), the worse the prognosis. Efforts to treat cachexia over the years have fallen short of satisfactorily reversing the wasting syndrome. This article reviews the pathophysiology of cachexia, enumerating the different pro-inflammatory cytokines that contribute to the syndrome and attempting to illustrate their interwoven pathways. We also review the different treatments that have been explored, as well as the recent literature addressing the use of anti-cytokine therapy to treat cachexia.

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