Resting energy metabolism and anticancer treatments

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Purpose of review

Cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome associated with morbidity and mortality in cancer patients and represents a major challenge in cancer management. Elevated energy expenditure is supposed to contribute to cachexia. The current article presents the recent findings on the resting energy expenditure (REE) in cancer and the clinical implications for anticancer treatments.

Recent findings

Half of cancer patients present with hypermetabolism (measured REE >110% of predicted REE). Hypermetabolism is associated with clinical and biological features of cachexia. Hypermetabolic patients – even those with normal nutritional status – have a high risk of severe acute toxicity and a poor prognosis.


Recent discoveries have highlighted the REE as an essential component of nutritional assessment in cancer patients. Multimodal care for cachexia should include REE measurements and dedicated pharmacologic interventions such as adrenoreceptor blockade in case of hypermetabolism.

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