Nutritional status affects treatment tolerability and survival in metastatic colorectal cancer patients: results of an AGEO prospective multicenter study

Oncology. 2011;81(5-6):395-402. doi: 10.1159/000335478. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


Background: The possible impact of malnutrition on the tolerability and efficacy of modern chemotherapy regimens for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) is unclear.

Methods: In this prospective, cross-sectional, multicenter study, we collected demographic, oncological and nutritional data for all consecutive mCRC patients during a 14-day period in eight hospitals. Nutritional status was assessed with the nutritional risk index (NRI), and patients were classified as severely malnourished when NRI was <83.5; drug-induced toxicities were evaluated using the National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria (version 3.0). Survival times were calculated from the date of the nutritional assessment.

Results: We enrolled 114 mCRC patients (median age: 65 years, range: 22-92; WHO performance status 0/1/2/3: 21/54/21/4%) of whom 88% had at least 2 metastatic sites and 49% were receiving chemotherapy as first-line treatment. Malnutrition was diagnosed in 65% of the patients and was severe in 19%. Severe malnutrition was associated with more adverse effects following chemotherapy (p = 0.01) and with shorter median overall survival (14.0 vs. 36.2 months in non-/moderately malnourished patients, p = 0.02).

Conclusions: In mCRC patients, severe malnutrition is associated with greater chemotherapy toxicity and reduced overall survival.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / complications*
  • Malnutrition / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult