Nutrition intervention approaches to reduce malnutrition in oncology patients: a systematic review
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Malnutrition is a very common problem in oncology patients and is associated with many negative consequences including poorer prognosis, quality of life and survival. However, malnutrition in oncology patients is often overlooked although there is growing evidence showing that it can be prevented or reduced through nutrition intervention. This paper aims to provide an updated review on the effectiveness of different nutrition intervention approaches on nutrition status outcomes in oncology patients.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published between 1994 and 2014 which examined the effects of nutrition intervention approaches—in particular, nutrition counselling (NC), oral nutrition supplements (ONS) and tube feeding (TF)—on nutrition status outcomes of oncology patients were identified and reviewed.
Thirteen papers from 11 RCTs with a total of 1077 participants were included. The intervention approaches included NC (four studies), NC + ONS (five studies), ONS (three studies) and TF (three studies). The various results suggest that NC with or without ONS was associated with consistent improvements in several nutrition status outcomes. On the other hand, ONS and TF were associated with inconsistent improvements in few aspects of nutrition status outcomes.
The referral of oncology patients for NC is recommended given the strong evidence of its beneficial effects on the prevention and reduction of malnutrition. Other forms of nutrition support including ONS and TF may then be included if deemed suitable and necessary for the individual.
KeywordsNutrition intervention Nutrition status Nutrition counselling Oral nutrition supplements Tube feeding Cancer
American Dietetic Association Medical Nutrition Therapy
Body mass index
Individual support and group rehabilitation
Nasogastric tube feeding
Oral nutrition supplements
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy feeding
Patient-generated subjective global assessment
Patient participation-based dietary intervention
Quality of life
Randomised controlled trial
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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