ESMO guidelines Cancer Cachexia

Title: ESMO guidelines Cancer Cachexia

Authors: J. Arends et al
Published: 2021

One of the leading global oncology societies, The European Society for Clinical Oncology (ESMO) has developed guidelines on the management of cachexia in adult cancer patients, with the aim of improving cancer care.
This has been shared on their website: Clinical Practice Guidelines – Cancer Cachexia in Adult Patients (

As part of their new guidelines, ESMO endorse implementation of nutritional management as integral part of cancer care and provides recommendations for identification, prevention and treatment of reversible elements of malnutrition in adult cancer patients. In addition nutritional intervention is recommended to support clinical outcomes during anti-cancer treatment, stating that this should be an integral part of cancer care, from the time of diagnosis onwards.

Cancer patients are at risk of becoming malnourished, both as a consequence of their illness and its treatment. Weight loss in cancer patients can negatively affect patient quality of life1 and, importantly, treatment success.2

Cancer cachexia is a multi-factorial syndrome characterised by an ongoing loss of skeletal muscle mass, with or without a loss of fat mass, that cannot be fully reversed by conventional nutritional support and leads to progressive functional decline.3

Nutritional interventions in cancer patients, such as Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS), can improve overall energy and protein intake, overall body weight, muscle mass and quality of life.

At Danone Research & Innovation we firmly believe that medical nutrition should become an increasingly integral and relevant part of cancer care.
We recognise that cancer patients have different nutritional needs at each stage of their illness.
Our aim is to develop innovative medical nutrition, such as oral nutritional supplements (ONS), that supports patients throughout their cancer journey.
In addition to studying specific nutrients and their potential role in improving outcomes for cancer patients, we also investigate sensory experiences of cancer patients as up to 70% of cancer patients suffer from sensory alterations during treatment4.

1 LeBlancTW et al. J Pain Symptom Manage, 2015;49:680–689. 
2 Martin et al. J Clin Oncol, 2015, 1;33(1):90-9.
Fearon K et al. Lancet Oncol, 2011;12(5):489-95 
4 Spotten, L.E., et al. Ann Oncol, 2017. 28(5): p. 969-984.