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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


MOLINA GARRIDO, María José. Impact of antineoplastic drugs on the nutritional status of older patients with cancer. Can the medical oncologist minimize the impact of these drugs on the nutrirional status of these patients?. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2020, vol.37, n.spe1, pp.22-30.  Epub July 06, 2020. ISSN 1699-5198.

Aging is associated, per se, with the loss of functional reserve of different organs and systems, a greater risk of vulnerability and frailty, sarcopenia and malnutrition, a reality that is extended to cancer patients.

There are several factors that are associated with malnutrition in the elderly individual, such as the difficulty in regulating food intake, loss of appetite and anorexia associated with age, alteration of the senses of taste and smell, dysgeusia or economic problems. In the case of the cancer patient, other factors are added to these factors, such as: a) type of tumor; b) tumor stage; c) evolutionary moment of the disease; and d) baseline situation.

Many therapeutic strategies used against the tumor, such as surgery, treatment with radiotherapy (concomitant or not with chemotherapy) and treatment with antitumor drugs influence also the risk of malnutrition. Thus, for example, concomitant chemo-radiation therapy in head and neck tumors, in lung cancer or in pelvic tumors represents a high nutritional risk antitumor therapy.

Some of the repercussions of malnutrition in the oncological elderly are severe. Thus, for example, malnutrition in these individuals is associated with: a) worse survival; b) increased risk of early discontinuation of chemotherapy treatment; c) increased risk of chemotherapy toxicity; d) increased toxicity from other antitumor drugs; and e) increased risk of mortality during chemotherapy treatment.

Taking this information into account, it is essential: a) to optimize the nutritional status in older patients with cancer prior to starting a systemic antitumor treatment; b) to carry out a nutritional follow-up throughout the treatment; and c) to offer early and intense management of malnutrition once it appears, with the purpose of minimizing the impact of antitumor drugs in older patients with cancer. Early management of malnutrition could improve drugs tolerance and increase the health-related quality of life in these patients. All these aspects are discussed in depth in this article.

Keywords : Sarcopenia; Chemotherapy; Older patient with cancer; Malnutrition; Muscle mass index; Toxicity.

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