Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 273–279 | Cite as

Evolving classification systems for cancer cachexia: ready for clinical practice?

  • David Blum
  • Aurelius Omlin
  • Ken Fearon
  • Vickie Baracos
  • Lukas Radbruch
  • Stein Kaasa
  • Florian StrasserEmail author
  • European Palliative Care Research Collaborative
Review Article



Involuntary weight loss, the defining factor of cachexia, is a common consequence of advanced cancer.


This review summarizes the actual cachexia definitions and classification systems (NCCTG-studies, Loprinzi et al.; PG-SGA, Ottery et al.; Cachexia Consensus Conference, Evans et al; Cancer Cachexia Study Group, Fearon et al.; and SCRINIO Working group, Bozzetti et al.). We describe the ongoing development of a new classification system for cancer cachexia, which is based on literature reviews and Delphi processes within the European Palliative Care Research Collaborative. The review describes the evolving understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of cachexia and outlines an overview on treatment options.


In this review an outlook on the requirements of a new decision guiding instrument is given and the challenges in clinical decision making in palliative are discussed.


Cancer Classification systems Cancer cachexia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Blum
    • 1
  • Aurelius Omlin
    • 1
  • Ken Fearon
    • 2
  • Vickie Baracos
    • 3
  • Lukas Radbruch
    • 4
  • Stein Kaasa
    • 5
  • Florian Strasser
    • 1
    Email author
  • European Palliative Care Research Collaborative
  1. 1.Oncological Palliative Medicine, Division of Oncology/Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine and Palliative Care CenterCantonal HospitalSt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Clinical and Surgical Sciences, School of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Royal InfirmaryThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  3. 3.Department of OncologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.Department of Palliative MedicineRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  5. 5.Faculty of MedicineClinical Department of Cancer Research and Molecular MedicineTrondheimNorway

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