Purpose: Cancer cachexia (CC) is a syndrome characterised by an ongoing loss of skeletal muscle mass associated with reduced tolerance to treatment. This study explored the prevalence and severity of CC in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients and determined its relationship with chemotherapy outcomes.
Methods: CC was classified into a four-stage model: no cachexia, pre-cachexia (PC), cachexia and refractory cachexia (RC) with categorisation determined from biochemical and body composition and performance assessment. Associations between the stage of cachexia and chemotherapy outcomes including radiological response, the number of chemotherapy cycles completed and the number of cycles delayed or dose reduced were explored.
Results: Twenty-four patients were included with 4 (18%) classified as having no cachexia, 4 (18%) PC, 3 (14%) cachexia (13.6%), and 11 (50%) RC. No association was observed between the stage of cachexia and the radiological response to chemotherapy number of cycles delayed or the number of cycle's dose reduced; however, there was an association with the number of cycles completed (p = 0.030). An association between C-reactive protein (CRP) and the number of chemotherapy cycles completed (p = 0.044) and the number of dose reductions (p = 0.044) was also identified.
Conclusions: Limited conclusions can be drawn given the small sample size. However, the majority of patients presented with some degree of cachexia at diagnosis. A relationship was identified between the increasing severity of cachexia and a lower number of chemotherapy cycles completed, as well as between CRP and the number of chemotherapy cycles completed and the number of dose reductions required, and therefore warrants further exploration in larger studies.
Keywords: Cachexia; Cancer; Chemotherapy; Classification; NSCLC.
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