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Cancer cachexia and exercise-based therapy: a review


Article: Impact of cancer cachexia on respiratory muscle function and the therapeutic potential of exercise

Cancer cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome that leads to progressive wasting which cannot be fully reverse through nutritional interventions. There is currently no clear method for the management of cachexia, but exercise seems to hold promising potential. Exercise may provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects, which may prove important in aiding with cachexia due to its correlation with inflammation and oxidative stress. Furthermore, exercise improves muscle strength and function, which can improve quality of life for those with cancer cachexia. However, there is very scarce evidence for this, and even some evidence contradicting the benefit of exercise due to the risk of over-extending the patients.

This review by Murphy BT et al. aimed to shine light on both sides of the complex discussion surrounding the benefits of exercise in aiding with cancer cachexia.

Key learnings

Research into treatments for cancer cachexia is clearly lacking: exercise has been highlighted as both helpful and harmful towards its management. Future studies need to focus on understanding how the progression of cancer cachexia can be managed with exercise, as well as multi-modally with nutrition and therapeutic interventions.

Reviewed by: Z. Beketova

Authors: B. T. Murphy; J. J. Mackrill; K. D. O’Halloran

Published in: J Physiol (October 2022)

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