Parenteral nutrition offers the possibility of increasing or ensuring nutrient intake in patients in whom normal food intake is inadequate and enteral nutrition is not feasible, is contraindicated or is not accepted by the patient. These guidelines are intended to provide evidence-based recommendations for the use of parenteral nutrition in cancer patients. They were developed by an interdisciplinary expert group in accordance with accepted standards, are based on the most relevant publications of the last 30 years and share many of the conclusions of the ESPEN guidelines on enteral nutrition in oncology. Under-nutrition and cachexia occur frequently in cancer patients and are indicators of poor prognosis and, per se, responsible for excess morbidity and mortality. Many indications for parenteral nutrition parallel those for enteral nutrition (weight loss or reduction in food intake for more than 7-10 days), but only those who, for whatever reason cannot be fed orally or enterally, are candidates to receive parenteral nutrition. A standard nutritional regimen may be recommended for short-term parenteral nutrition, while in cachectic patients receiving intravenous feeding for several weeks a high fat-to-glucose ratio may be advised because these patients maintain a high capacity to metabolize fats. The limited nutritional response to the parenteral nutrition reflects more the presence of metabolic derangements which are characteristic of the cachexia syndrome (or merely the short duration of the nutritional support) rather than the inadequacy of the nutritional regimen. Perioperative parenteral nutrition is only recommended in malnourished patients if enteral nutrition is not feasible. In non-surgical well-nourished oncologic patients routine parenteral nutrition is not recommended because it has proved to offer no advantage and is associated with increased morbidity. A benefit, however, is reported in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Short-term parenteral nutrition is however commonly accepted in patients with acute gastrointestinal complications from chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and long-term (home) parenteral nutrition will sometimes be a life-saving maneuver in patients with sub acute/chronic radiation enteropathy. In incurable cancer patients home parenteral nutrition may be recommended in hypophagic/(sub)obstructed patients (if there is an acceptable performance status) if they are expected to die from starvation/under nutrition prior to tumor spread.