Background: In cancer patients, malnutrition is associated with treatment toxicity, complications, reduced physical functioning, and decreased survival. The Prevalence of Malnutrition in Oncology (PreMiO) study identified malnutrition or its risk among cancer patients making their first medical oncology visit. Innovatively, oncologists, not nutritionists, evaluated the nutritional status of the patients in this study.
Methods: PreMiO was a prospective, observational study conducted at 22 medical oncology centers across Italy. For inclusion, adult patients (>18 years) had a solid tumor diagnosis, were treatment-naive, and had a life expectancy >3 months. Malnutrition was identified by the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), appetite status with a visual analog scale (VAS), and appetite loss with a modified version of Anorexia-Cachexia Subscale (AC/S-12) of the Functional Assessment of Anorexia-Cachexia Therapy (FAACT).
Findings: Of patients enrolled (N=1,952), 51% had nutritional impairment; 9% were overtly malnourished, and 43% were at risk for malnutrition. Severity of malnutrition was positively correlated with the stage of cancer. Over 40% of patients were experiencing anorexia, as reported in the VAS and FAACT questionnaire. During the prior six months, 64% of patients lost weight (1-10 kg).
Interpretation: Malnutrition, anorexia, and weight loss are common in cancer patients, even at their first visit to a medical oncology center.
- Journal Article