Energy Expenditure in Patients With Esophageal, Gastric, and Colorectal Cancer

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Changes in resting energy expenditure (REE) appear to be one of the causes of nutritional depletion in cancer. Assessing REE may be an important tool for providing adequate nutritional therapy to these patients. The aims of this study were to evaluate REE of patients with gastrointestinal tract cancer and to compare it to that of healthy controls.


A total of 20 patients, with esophageal (n = 3), gastric (n = 9), and colorectal (n = 8) cancers, and 20 healthy subjects were included. Indirect calorimetry (IC) was used to measure REE in both groups. The “pocket” equation (30 kcal/kg) and the Harris-Benedict equation, with correction factors of 1.3 (activity) and 1.1 (injury), were employed for assessment of the estimated total energy expenditure (TEE). Statistics included Mann-Whitney and paired t tests, Bland Altman analysis, and multivariate regression.


The REE of the patients (1,274.5 kcal [1,002.9–2,174.9]) was similar to that of the controls (1,445.5 kcal [1,114.5–1,762.6], not significant), even when corrected for the amount of metabolically active tissue. The pocket equation was effective in predicting the patients' TEE, with a 1.7% (32 kcal) difference being observed in comparison with the IC results corrected with the activity factor (not significant).


The patients with digestive tract cancers showed a similar REE to that of the controls. The current formula of 30 kcal/kg is suitable for estimating the TEE of these patients.

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