The effect of an oral nutritional supplement enriched with fish oil on weight-loss in patients with pancreatic cancer.Br J Cancer. 1999 Sep; 81(1):80-6.BJ
Previous studies have suggested that administration of oral eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) will stabilize weight in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. The aim of the present study was to determine if a combination of EPA with a conventional oral nutritional supplement could produce weight gain in these patients. Twenty patients with unresectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma were asked to consume two cans of a fish oil-enriched nutritional supplement per day in addition to their normal food intake. Each can contained 310 kcal, 16.1 g protein and 1.09 g EPA. Patients were assessed for weight, body composition, dietary intake, resting energy expenditure (REE) and performance status. Patients consumed a median of 1.9 cans day(-1). All patients were losing weight at baseline at a median rate of 2.9 kg month(-1). After administration of the fish oil-enriched supplement, patients had significant weight-gain at both 3 (median 1 kg, P= 0.024) and 7 weeks (median 2 kg, P = 0.033). Dietary intake increased significantly by almost 400 kcal day(-1) (P = 0.002). REE per kg body weight and per kg lean body mass fell significantly. Performance status and appetite were significantly improved at 3 weeks. In contrast to previous studies of oral conventional nutritional supplements in weight-losing cancer patients, this study suggests that an EPA-enriched supplement may reverse cachexia in advanced pancreatic cancer.