Simple nutritional intervention in patients with advanced cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, non-small cell lung cancers or mesothelioma and weight loss receiving chemotherapy: a randomised controlled trial.J Hum Nutr Diet. 2011 Oct; 24(5):431-40.JH
Weight loss in patients with cancer is common and associated with a poorer survival and quality of life. Benefits from nutritional interventions are unclear. The present study assessed the effect of dietary advice and/or oral nutritional supplements on survival, nutritional endpoints and quality of life in patients with weight loss receiving palliative chemotherapy for gastrointestinal and non-small cell lung cancers or mesothelioma.
Participants were randomly assigned to receive no intervention, dietary advice, a nutritional supplement or dietary advice plus supplement before the start of chemotherapy. Patients were followed for 1 year. Survival, nutritional status and quality of life were assessed.
In total, 256 men and 102 women (median age, 66 years; range 24-88 years) with gastrointestinal (n = 277) and lung (n = 81) cancers were recruited. Median (range) follow-up was 6 (0-49) months. One-year survival was 38.6% (95% confidence interval 33.3-43.9). No differences in survival, weight or quality of life between groups were seen. Patients surviving beyond 26 weeks experienced significant weight gain from baseline to 12 weeks, although this was independent of nutritional intervention.
Simple nutritional interventions did not improve clinical or nutritional outcomes or quality of life. Weight gain predicted a longer survival but occurred independently of nutritional intervention.