Effect of total parenteral nutrition on the protein kinetics of patients with cancer cachexia

F. Bozzetti, C. Gavazzi, P. Ferrari, F. Dworzak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and background: The question of whether TPN is able to reverse lean body mass depletion in cachectic cancer patients and, in particular, its effect on protein kinetics is a matter of some controversy. This study investigates the impact of TPN on protein kinetics in patients with gastric cancer. Methods: The study involved three patients with 14-30% weight loss. They were administered a TPN regimen including 33-40 kcal/kg/day and 1.4-1.7 g amino acid/kg/day. The protein metabolism was studied before and during TPN using a stable amino acid isotope. Results: Whole body protein turnover and breakdown did not change during TPN, whereas whole body protein synthesis increased from 3.39 ± 1.04 to 6.05 ± 0.48 g/kg/day (P = 0.03). However, the net balance, which was slightly negative prior to TPN, became positive during nutritional support. In the skeletal muscle compartment the synthesis improved with TPN (from 9.38 ± 2.6 nmol/100 mL/min to 35.95 ± 3.4 nmol/100 mL/min; P = 0.0143), whereas breakdown did not change significantly. Conclusions: TPN triggers a positive metabolic response in cachectic cancer patients. Whether this results in a clinical benefit for the patient requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-411
Number of pages4
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Muscle protein metabolism
  • Nutritional support
  • Protein metabolism
  • Total parenteral nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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