Anamorelin hydrochloride for the treatment of cancer-anorexia-cachexia in NSCLC

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2015 Jun;16(8):1245-53. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2015.1041500. Epub 2015 May 6.


Introduction: Cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome (CACS) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Anamorelin is a novel, orally active ghrelin receptor agonist in clinical development for the treatment of CACS in NSCLC. The aim of this review is to summarize preclinical and clinical studies evaluating anamorelin as a potential promising treatment for CACS in NSCLC.

Areas covered: Pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and metabolism, clinical efficacy, safety and tolerability of anamorelin for the treatment of CACS in NSCLC were reviewed. Anamorelin administration may lead to increases in food intake, body weight and lean body mass, and a stimulatory effect on growth hormone secretion in NSCLC patients. Anamorelin is well tolerated with no dose-limiting toxicities identified to date.

Expert opinion: Targeting ghrelin receptors presents the advantage of potentially addressing multiple mechanisms of CACS simultaneously including appetite, muscle protein balance, adipose tissue metabolism, energy expenditure and inflammation. Clinical data suggest that anamorelin is well tolerated and it effectively increases appetite, body weight and lean mass in patients with advanced NSCLC. Long-term safety remains unknown at this time. The potential synergistic effects of anamorelin with nutritional support or exercise as well as its efficacy/safety in other tumor types are also unknown.

Keywords: NSCLC; anamorelin; cancer-anorexia-cachexia syndrome; ghrelin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anorexia / drug therapy*
  • Anorexia / etiology
  • Anorexia / metabolism
  • Appetite / drug effects
  • Cachexia / drug therapy*
  • Cachexia / etiology
  • Cachexia / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / complications
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Humans
  • Hydrazines / pharmacology
  • Hydrazines / therapeutic use*
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology
  • Oligopeptides / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Receptors, Ghrelin / agonists*


  • Hydrazines
  • Oligopeptides
  • Receptors, Ghrelin
  • anamorelin