A randomized phase II study of nutritional and exercise treatment for elderly patients with advanced non-small cell lung or pancreatic cancer: the NEXTAC-TWO study protocol

BMC Cancer. 2019 May 31;19(1):528. doi: 10.1186/s12885-019-5762-6.


Background: Most advanced elderly cancer patients experience fatigue, anorexia, and declining physical function due to cancer cachexia, for which effective interventions have not been established. We performed a phase I study of a new nonpharmacological multimodal intervention called the nutritional and exercise treatment for advanced cancer (NEXTAC) program and reported the excellent feasibility of and compliance with this program in elderly patients with advanced cancer who were at risk for cancer cachexia. We report here the background, hypothesis, and design of the next-step multicenter, randomized phase II study to evaluate the efficacy of the program, the NEXTAC-TWO study.

Methods: Patients with chemo-naïve advanced non-small cell lung cancer or pancreatic cancer, age ≥ 70 years, performance status ≤2, with adequate organ function and without disability according to the modified Katz index will be eligible. In total, 130 participants will be recruited from 15 Japanese institutions and will be randomized into either the intervention group or a control group. Computer-generated random numbers are allocated to each participant. Stratification factors include performance status (0 to 1 vs. 2), site of primary cancer (lung vs. pancreas), stage (III vs. IV), and type of chemotherapy (cytotoxic vs. others). Interventions and assessment will be performed 4 times every 4 ± 2 weeks from the date of randomization. Interventions will consist of nutritional counseling, nutritional supplements (rich in branched-chain amino acids), and a home-based exercise program. The exercise program will include low-intensity daily muscle training and lifestyle education to promote physical activity. The primary endpoint is disability-free survival. It is defined as the period from the date of randomization to the date of developing disability or death due to any cause. This trial also plans to evaluate the improvements in nutritional status, physical condition, quality of life, activities of daily living, overall survival, and safety as secondary endpoints. Enrollment began in August 2017. The study results will demonstrate the efficacy of multimodal interventions for elderly cancer patients and their application for the maintenance of physical and nutritional conditions in patients with cancer cachexia. This work is supported by a grant-in-aid from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development.

Discussion: This is the first randomized trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a multimodal intervention specific for elderly patients with advanced cancer.

Trial registration: Registered at August 23, 2017. Registry number: UMIN000028801 .

Keywords: Cachexia; Elderly patients; Lung cancer; Multimodal intervention; Pancreatic cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cachexia / epidemiology
  • Cachexia / physiopathology
  • Cachexia / prevention & control
  • Cachexia / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / diet therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Lung Neoplasms / diet therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diet therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic