Assessing Cachexia Acutely after Autologous Stem Cell Transplant

Cancers (Basel). 2019 Sep 4;11(9):1300. doi: 10.3390/cancers11091300.


Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHCT) is an accepted strategy for various hematologic malignancies that can lead to functional impairment, fatigue, muscle wasting, and reduced quality of life (QOL). In cancer cachexia, these symptoms are associated with inflammation, hypermetabolism, and decreased anabolic hormones. The relative significance of these factors soon after AHCT setting is unclear. The purpose of this study was to characterize the acute effects of AHCT on physical function, body composition, QOL, energy expenditure, cytokines, and testosterone. Outcomes were assessed before (PRE) and 30 ± 10 days after (FU) AHCT in patients with multiple myeloma (n = 15) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 6). Six-minute walk test (6MWT; p = 0.014), lean mass (p = 0.002), and fat mass (p = 0.02) decreased; nausea and fatigue increased at FU (both p = 0.039). Recent weight change and steroid exposure were predictors of reduced aerobic capacity (p < 0.001). There were no significant changes in interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), energy expenditure, or bioavailable testosterone. Alterations in cytokines, energy expenditure, and testosterone were not associated with functional impairment acutely following AHCT. Recent history of weight loss and steroid exposure were predictors of worse physical function after AHCT, suggesting that targeting nutritional status and myopathy may be viable strategies to mitigate these effects.

Keywords: hematopoietic stem cell transplant; muscle function; muscle wasting; testosterone.