PURPOSE: The international guidelines recommend the use of supplemental parenteral nutrition (SPN) in cancer patients when they are malnourished and hypophagic and where enteral nutrition is not feasible. However, there are limited data on the short-term effects of SPN in this patient population. METHODS: The aim of this bicentric single-arm clinical trial (NCT02828150) was to evaluate the effects of early 7-day SPN on bioimpedance vectorial analysis (BIVA)-derived body composition, handgrip strength (HG), and serum prealbumin (PAB) in 131 hypophagic, hospitalized cancer patients at nutritional risk, with contraindications for enteral nutrition. RESULTS: One hundred eighteen patients (90.1%) completed the 7-day SPN support regimen and 102 of them (86.4%) were in advanced disease stage. SPN induced a significant improvement of phase angle (PhA, + 0.25 [95% CI 0.11, 0.39]; p = 0.001), standardized phase angle (SPA, + 0.33 [95% CI 0.13, 0.53]; p = 0.002), HG (+ 2.1 kg -95% CI 1.30, 2.81]; p < 0.001), and PAB (+ 3.8 mg/dL [95% CI 2.1, 5.6]; p < 0.001). In multivariable analysis, the effects on BIVA parameters were more pronounced in patients (N = 90, 76.3%) in whom estimated protein and calorie requirements were both satisfied (adjusted difference: PhA, + 0.39 [95% CI 0.04, 0.73]; p = 0.030; SPA, + 0.62 [95% CI 0.16, 1.09]; p = 0.009). No significant changes in hydration status were detected and no severe metabolic or other complications occurred. CONCLUSIONS: Early 7-day SPN resulted in improved body composition, HG and PAB levels in hypophagic, and hospitalized cancer patients at nutritional risk in the absence of any relevant clinical complications. Further trials, aimed at verifying the efficacy of this early nutritional intervention on mid- and long-term primary clinical endpoints in specific cancer types, are warranted.
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