Cancer cachexia

  • Nada Rotovnik Kozjek
  • Živa Mrevlje
  • Barbara Koroušič Seljak
  • Katja Kogovšek
  • Branko Zakotnik
  • Iztok Takač
  • Matjaž Horvat
  • Tadej Dovšak
  • Vojko Didanović
  • Andrej Kansky
  • Jožica Červek
  • Vanja Velenik
  • Franc Anderluh
  • Milena Kerin
  • Matjaž Sever
  • Primož Strojan
  • Borut Štabuc
  • Mojca Unk
  • Jernej Benedik
  • Erik Brecelj
  • Tadeja Pintar
  • Lidija Kompan
  • Marko Novak
  • Laura Petrica
  • Denis Mlakar Mastnak
  • Brigita Avramović Brumen
  • Eva Peklaj
  • Rajmonda Jankovič
  • Urška Jelenko
  • Edita Rotner
  • Sanja Đukić
  • Petra Tavčar


The present article presents the Slovenian multidisciplinary agreement statement on the definition, staging, clinical classification and multimodal approach to the treatment of cachexia in cancer patients. The consensus was reached during a multidisciplinary plenary session, and is based on the international definition of cancer cachexia adopted in 2011. Cancer cachexia is a multifactorial metabolic syndrome defined by an ongoing loss of skeletal muscle with or without concomitant loss of fat, which cannot be fully reversed by conventional nutritional support and leads to progressive functional impairment. Its pathophysiology is characterized by a negative energy and protein balance due to a variable combination of reduced food intake and metabolic changes. In cancer patients, the cachexia syndrome can develop progressively through various stages – from precachexia to cachexia and finally, to refractory cachexia–represent-ing a continuum of metabolic changes, clini-cal signs and symptoms. Patients can progress from precachexia to cachexia, and reverse from cachexia into precachectic stages, while (as the term itself implies), the condition of refractory or irreversible cachexia has poor therapeutic response. A clinical algorithm for recognition and treatment of cachexia in cancer patients is presented. All cancer patients should be screened for cachexia and precachexia on presentation. Patients who fulfil diagnostic criteria for cancer cachexia should have its clinical stage determined. According to phenotype / clinical stage, a multimodal approach should be adopted in the treatment of all cases of cancer cachexia. A typical multimodal management plan in cachectic patients consists of early dietary intervention, exercise, anti-inflammatory therapy and early cancer-related symptom relief. The cachexia treatment pathway should be adopted as a pathway parallel to conventional cancer treatment. Practical implementation of cancer cachexia consensus represents the therapeutic approach with possible positive impact on cancer burden control in Slovenia.


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Author Biography

Nada Rotovnik Kozjek
dr. Nada Rotovnik Kozjek,, Enota za klinično prehrano, Onkološki Inštitut
How to Cite
Rotovnik Kozjek N, Mrevlje Živa, Koroušič Seljak B, Kogovšek K, Zakotnik B, Takač I, Horvat M, Dovšak T, Didanović V, Kansky A, Červek J, Velenik V, Anderluh F, Kerin M, Sever M, Strojan P, Štabuc B, Unk M, Benedik J, Brecelj E, Pintar T, Kompan L, Novak M, Petrica L, Mlakar Mastnak D, Avramović Brumen B, Peklaj E, Jankovič R, Jelenko U, Rotner E, Đukić S, Tavčar P. Cancer cachexia. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 1Mar.2013 [cited 23Aug.2019];82(3). Available from:
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