Systematic review of the treatment of cancer-associated anorexia and weight loss.

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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Nov 20;23(33):8500-11.

Systematic review of the treatment of cancer-associated anorexia and weight loss.

Yavuzsen T, Davis MP, Walsh D, LeGrand S, Lagman R.

Harry R. Horvitz Center for Palliative Medicine, The Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE: We systematically assessed the efficacy and safety of appetite stimulants in the management of cancer-related anorexia. Literature databases were searched for randomized controlled trials of appetite stimulants in the treatment of cancer anorexia.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Studies were graded according to quality. Fifty-five studies met inclusion criteria.

RESULTS: Only two drugs have evidence to support their use for anorexia (progestins and corticosteroids). There is strong evidence against the use of hydrazine sulfate. The outcomes of these trials have been mixed and patient population heterogeneous.

CONCLUSION: The optimal dose, time to start, and duration of treatment for many appetite stimulants for cancer anorexia is still unknown. A more systematic approach to research methodology with universal outcome measure and prospective randomized studies are need. Combination regimens are needed but this cannot at the present time be supported by the data presented.