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, 38 (2), 196-204

Prevalence of Malnutrition and Current Use of Nutrition Support in Patients With Cancer


Prevalence of Malnutrition and Current Use of Nutrition Support in Patients With Cancer

Xavier Hébuterne et al. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr.


Background and aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate on 1 day the prevalence of malnutrition in different types of cancer and the use of nutrition support in patients with cancer.

Methods: A 1-day prevalence survey was carried out in 154 French hospital wards. Malnutrition was defined as a body mass index (BMI) <18.5 in patients <75 years old or <21 in patients ≥75 years old and/or body weight loss >10% since disease onset. Oral food intake was measured using a visual analog scale.

Results: Nutrition status was collected for 1903 patients (1109 men and 794 women, 59.3 ± 13.2 years). Cancer was local in 25%, regional in 31%, and metastatic in 44% of patients. Performance status was 0 or 1 in 49.8%, 2 in 23.7%, 3 or 4 in 19.6% and not available in 6.5% of patients. Overall, 39% of patients were malnourished. The prevalence of malnutrition by disease site was as follows: head and neck, 48.9%; leukemia/lymphoma, 34.0%; lung, 45.3%; colon/rectum, 39.3%; esophagus and/or stomach, 60.2%; pancreas, 66.7%; breast, 20.5%; ovaries/uterus, 44.8%; and prostate, 13.9%. Regional cancer (odds ratio, 1.96; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-2.70), metastatic cancer (2.97; 2.14-4.12), previous chemotherapy (1.41; 1.05-1.89), and previous radiotherapy (1.53; 1.21-1.92) were associated with malnutrition. Only 28.4% of non-malnourished patients and 57.6% of malnourished patients received nutrition support. In all, 55% of patients stated that they were eating less than before the cancer, while 41.4% of patients stated that they had received nutrition counseling.

Conclusions: The prevalence of malnutrition is high in patients with cancer, and systematic screening for and treatment of malnutrition is necessary.

Keywords: cancer; enteral nutrition; malnutrition; oral supplements; parenteral nutrition; screening.

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