Parenteral nutrition support for patients with pancreatic cancer--improvement of the nutritional status and the therapeutic outcome.
ABSTRACT Malnutrition is a frequent and serious problem of patients with pancreatic cancer (i.e. due to exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, postoperative syndromes, anorexia, chemotherapy, and/or tumor progression). In many cases it has negative effects on the quality of life or on the tumor therapy. We investigated if malnutrition can be resolved or corrected by adequate home parenteral nutrition (PN) of pancreatic cancer (PaCa) patients, in cases where dietary advice and oral nutrition supplementation failed to correct the deficiencies. The energy supply via PN was analyzed in patients with PaCa, with focus on the single components in compounded PN.
We examined a group of six women and eleven men with assured PaCa disease at different tumor stages (mean age: 64 years). Indications for PN were a reduction of body weight of >5 % in three months and/or a long-term reduced nutritional status, reduced results of the bio-electrical impedance analysis (BIA), malassimilation and/or clinical symptoms like severe diarrhoea/vomitus, preventing adequate oral nutrition for weeks. The PN, administered via port-catheter, was initiated while the patients were undergoing chemotherapy. The course of treatment was assessed based on body weight, BIA (Data-Input Nutriguard-M), on laboratory parameters and on personal evaluation of the patients' quality of life. Retrospectively, the patients were subdivided into two groups (Gr): Gr1 (n=10) had a survival period of more than 5, up to more than 37 months, after the start of PN and Gr2 (n=7) had a survival between 1-4 months after start of PN. The calculations of the energy supply were based on the patients' body weight (per kg). Fluid volume, relation of macronutrients and addition of fish oil to PN are described in detail.
Gr1: Eight of ten patients already showed an increase of body weight with the initial PN, two patients after dose adaption. This positive impact was also observable on the cellular level by means of BIA results (phase angle, body cell mass (BCM), extracellular mass (ECM), cell content and ECM/BCM Index). Two patients, who were receiving PN for over two or three periods, showed reproducibility of the results; while when PN was interrupted all BIA parameters degraded and they ameliorated with the restart of PN. Gr2: In these patients PN was started in the late stage of the tumor disease in order to allow for a--from the retrospective point of view--last, but ineffective chemotherapy. The data indicated that the weight loss could be retarded, even if the effects on body weight and BIA parameters were found to be less pronounced compared to Gr1. The mean energy supply of both groups, however, was similar: 8,823 kcal (Gr1) per week compared to 9,572 kcal (Gr2) per week. The majority of patients claimed to be quicker and more powerful under PN and to some extent the appetite was enhanced.
A timely onset of PN with sufficient calories leads to an improved nutritional status of patients with PaCa disease. PN enhances the quality of life, the administration of tumor therapy without interruption and therefore may lead to a better success of the entire therapy. For late-stage tumor patients (Gr2) the quality of life can, at least, be improved. The success of PN is significantly dependent upon the patients' compliance, which could be achieved through intensive consulting and support of all patients and their relatives.
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