BACKGROUND: According to a recent consensus, the cachectic syndrome is defined as: "… a complex metabolic syndrome associated with underlying illness and characterized by loss of muscle with or without loss of fat mass. The prominent clinical feature of cachexia is weight loss in adults (corrected for fluid retention) or growth failure in children (excluding endocrine disorders). Anorexia, inflammation, insulin resistance, and increased muscle protein breakdown are frequently associated with cachexia." Although this definition is accompanied by diagnostic criteria, it does not consider the problem of staging. Stratification of patients is important when considering therapy. The very first stage of the wasting syndrome does not necessarily involve body weight loss-a state known as pre-cachexia. METHODS AND RESULTS: The aim of the present score was to overcome the problem of patient staging in cancer. This score considers five main different factors: body weight and lean body mass loss; anorexia; inflammatory, immunological, and metabolic disturbances; physical performance; and quality of life. The scoring scale goes from 0 to 100: mild cachexia (less than 25), moderate (more than 26 and less than 50), severe (more than 51 and less than 75), and terminal phase (more than 76 and up to 100). The score also takes into consideration the condition known as pre-cachexia. CONCLUSION: The present score will facilitate cachexia staging and will therefore allow for a more adequate therapy. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13539-011-0027-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.