Nutritional considerations for the management of the older person with hepato-pancreatico-biliary malignancy

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2021 Mar;47(3 Pt A):533-538. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2020.04.024. Epub 2020 Apr 26.


Malnutrition and cancer cachexia are prevalent in older people with hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) malignancy, with the resultant loss of muscle mass and function accelerating normal age-associated losses. Unintentional weight loss may be missed in patients with pre-illness obesity, delaying diagnosis and limiting treatment potential and access. Sarcopenia and/or sarcopenic obesity increase the risk of dose-limiting chemotherapy toxicity, post-operative mortality and overall survival. The aetiology of malnutrition and weight loss is multi-factorial in patients with HPB malignancy, necessitating systematic evaluation of endocrine and exocrine function, and multi-modal therapeutic strategies. Prehabilitation aims to reduce the complications and side effects associated with treatment, aid recovery and improve quality of life, with the greatest benefits potentially being seen in high risk groups, such as people who are older and frail. Post-operatively, individualised nutritional support therapies targeting the preservation of weight and muscle indices are required to improve post-operative morbidity, and avoid delay or early cessation of any necessary adjuvant therapy.

Keywords: 5/5): malnutrition; Older; Pancreatic; Prehabilitation; Sarcopenia.