Sarcopenia and Physical Function: In Overweight Patients with Advanced Cancer
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Advanced cancer is associated with numerous metabolic abnormalities that may lead to significant body composition changes, particularly muscle loss or sarcopenia. Sarcopenia in cancer has been associated with poor clinical outcomes, including poor physical function. Accurate tools to assess body composition are expensive and not readily available in clinical settings. Unfortunately, little is known about the efficacy of affordable and portable techniques to assess functional status in patients with cancer. We investigated the prevalence of sarcopenia and its association with different portable and low-cost functional status measurement tools (i.e., handgrip strength testing, a two-minute walking test, and a self-report questionnaire) in overweight/obese patients (body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m²) with advanced cancer. Twenty-eight patients (68% men) aged 64.5 ± 9.5 years with advanced lung or colorectal cancer were included. Sarcopenia was assessed by measuring appendicular skeletal muscle (ASM) adjusted by height (ASM index), using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Approximately 36% of patients had sarcopenia. Average handgrip strength was greater in men without sarcopenia than in men with it (p=0.035). In men, ASM index was positively correlated with average (r=0.535, p=0.018) and peak handgrip strength (r=0.457, p=0.049). No differences were observed among female patients. Handgrip strength was associated with sarcopenia in male patients with advanced cancer, and therefore it may be used as a portable and simple nutritional screening tool.
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