Biomarkers for Cancer Cachexia: A Mini Review

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Apr 26;22(9):4501. doi: 10.3390/ijms22094501.


Cancer cachexia is a common condition in many cancer patients, particularly those with advanced disease. Cancer cachexia patients are generally less tolerant to chemotherapies and radiotherapies, largely limiting their treatment options. While the search for treatments of this condition are ongoing, standards for the efficacy of treatments have yet to be developed. Current diagnostic criteria for cancer cachexia are primarily based on loss of body mass and muscle function. However, these criteria are rather limiting, and in time, when weight loss is noticeable, it may be too late for treatment. Consequently, biomarkers for cancer cachexia would be valuable adjuncts to current diagnostic criteria, and for assessing potential treatments. Using high throughput methods such as "omics approaches", a plethora of potential biomarkers have been identified. This article reviews and summarizes current studies of biomarkers for cancer cachexia.

Keywords: biomarkers; cachexia-inducing factors; cancer cachexia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Biomarkers, Tumor* / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor* / metabolism
  • Cachexia* / diagnosis
  • Cachexia* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss


  • Biomarkers
  • Biomarkers, Tumor