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Cachexia assessment tools

Blum, Davida; Strasser, Florianb

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: December 2011 - Volume 5 - Issue 4 - p 350–355
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0b013e32834c4a05
Cachexia, nutrition and hydration: Edited by Michael J Tisdale and Aminah Jatoi

Purpose of review Cachexia is a common negative consequence of cancer and is often unrecognized. To assess cachexia, malnutrition assessment tools are used. This review discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the current malnutrition assessment tools and describes the requirements for a comprehensive cachexia assessment instrument and its implication for clinics and research.

Recent findings The historic definition of cachexia has been updated based on new understanding of mechanism and clinical concepts. Classification of cachectic patients includes novel domains and stages. Validated cachexia assessment tools based on the new classification are under development.

Summary Cachexia has an impact for patients and proxies. Due to a lack of formal cachexia assessment instrument, malnutrition assessment tools are in use. Future comprehensive cachexia assessment instruments will identify cachexia domains and stages and classify cachexia, the basis for better clinical treatment and research.

aEURO IMPACT, Marie Curie PhD training fellow, European Palliative Reasearch Center, Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, NTNU, Faculty of Medicine, Trondheim, Norway

bSection Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine and Palliative Care Centre, Rorschacherstrasse, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Correspondence to Florian Strasser, MD, ABHPM, KSSG, Section Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine and Palliative Care Centre, Rorschacherstrasse 95, 9007 St. Gallen, SwitzerlandTel: +41 71 494 11 11 (11 79); Mob: +41 79 401 58 73; fax: +41 71 494 63 25; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.