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Weight Loss, Satiety, and the Postprandial Gut Hormone Response After Esophagectomy: A Prospective Study

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Abstract

Objective:

To prospectively characterize changes in body weight, satiety, and postprandial gut hormone profiles following esophagectomy.

Background:

With improved oncologic outcomes in esophageal cancer, there is an increasing focus on functional status and health-related quality of life in survivorship. Early satiety and weight loss are common after esophagectomy, but the pathophysiology of these phenomena remains poorly understood.

Methods:

In this prospective study, consecutive patients undergoing esophagectomy with gastric conduit reconstruction were studied preoperatively and at 10 days, 6 weeks, and 3 months postoperatively. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) immunoreactivity of plasma collected immediately before and at 15, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 minutes after a standardized 400-kcal mixed meal was determined. Gastrointestinal symptom scores were computed using European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer questionnaires.

Results:

Body weight loss at 6 weeks and 3 months postoperatively among 13 patients undergoing esophagectomy was 11.1 ± 2.3% (P < 0.001) and 16.3 ± 2.2% (P < 0.0001), respectively. Early satiety (P = 0.043), gastrointestinal pain and discomfort (P = 0.01), altered taste (P= 0.006), and diarrhea (P= 0.038) scores increased at 3 months postoperatively. Area under the curve for the satiety gut hormone GLP-1 was significantly increased from 10 days postoperatively (2.4 ± 0.2-fold increase, P < 0.01), and GLP-1 peak increased 3.8 ± 0.6-, 4.7 ± 0.8-, and 4.4 ± 0.5-fold at 10 days, 6 weeks, and 3 months postoperatively (all P < 0.0001). Three months postoperatively, GLP-1 area under the curve was associated with early satiety (P = 0.0002, R2 = 0.74), eating symptoms (P = 0.007, R2 = 0.54), and trouble enjoying meals (P = 0.0004, R2 = 0.73).

Conclusions:

After esophagectomy, patients demonstrate an exaggerated postprandial satiety gut hormone response, which may mediate postoperative changes in satiety, body weight, and gastrointestinal quality of life.

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