Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle (JCSM) - Abstract

 Volume 6, Number 1, Page 95 - 98

Hypermetabolism and symptom burden in advanced cancer patients evaluated in a cachexia clinic

Rony Dev, David Hui, Gary Chisholm, Marvin Delgado-Guay, Shalini Dalal, Egidio Del Fabbro, Eduardo Bruera


Elevated resting energy expenditure (REE) may contribute to weight loss and symptom burden in cancer patients.


The aim of this study was to compare the velocity of weight loss, symptom burden (fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and anorexia—combined score as measured by the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Score), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and survival among cancer patients referred to a cachexia clinic with hypermetabolism, elevated REE > 110% of predicted, with normal REE.


A retrospective analysis of 60 advanced cancer patients evaluated in a cachexia clinic for either >5% weight loss or anorexia who underwent indirect calorimetry to measure REE. Patients were dichotomized to either elevated or normal REE. Descriptive statistics were generated, and a two-sample Student's t-tests were used to compare the outcomes between the groups. Kaplan–Meier and Cox regression methodology were used to examine the survival times between groups.


Thirty-seven patients (62%) were men, 41 (68%) were White, 59 (98%) solid tumours, predominantly 23 gastrointestinal cancers (38%), with a median age of 60 (95% confidence interval 57.0–62.9). Thirty-five patients (58%) were hypermetabolic. Non-Caucasian patients were more likely to have high REE [odds ratio = 6.17 (1.56, 24.8), P = 0.01]. No statistical difference regarding age, cancer type, gender, active treatment with chemotherapy, and/or radiation between hypermetabolic and normal REE was noted. The velocity of weight loss over a 3 month period (−8.5 kg vs. −7.2 kg, P = 0.68), C-reactive protein (37.3 vs. 55.6 mg/L, P = 0.70), symptom burden (4.2 vs. 4.5, P = 0.54), and survival (288 vs. 276 days, P = 0.68) was not significantly different between high vs. normal REE, respectively.


Hypermetabolism is common in cancer patients with weight loss and noted to be more frequent in non-Caucasian patients. No association among velocity of weight loss, symptom burden, C-reactive protein, and survival was noted in advanced cancer patients with elevated REE.

Dev, R., Hui, D., Chisholm, G., Delgado-Guay, M., Dalal, S., Del Fabbro, E., and Bruera, E. (2015), Hypermetabolism and symptom burden in advanced cancer patients evaluated in a cachexia clinic. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle, 6, 95–98.