AbstractPurpose of review
In spite of its relevance, treatments for the cancer anorexia and cachexia syndrome (CACS) are not available. One of the agents that recently reached phase III clinical trials is anamorelin. Its development, along with that of other agents for this indication, will be reviewed here, with a focus on the gaps in the current knowledge and future directions.Recent findings
In spite of several targets showing promising results in early development, their difficulties obtaining regulatory approval underscore the need to reconsider the current strategies in drug development and the challenges in the field of CACS.Summary
Further research is needed in order to meet the challenges of developing treatments for CACS. Preclinical studies should expand our understanding about key regulators of appetite, muscle, and energy metabolism in this setting using models that can be translated reliably to humans. Clinical research efforts should focus on validating the entry criteria, endpoints, outcomes, and the potential synergistic effects and interaction between different targets, nutrition, and exercise interventions. Clinical meaningfulness and significance should be taken into account in the design of clinical trials. It is essential that all key stakeholders are included in the design of future strategies.