Amino acids in cancer and cachexia: a review

Amino acid metabolism is hugely altered in tumours. Cancer cells use amino acids for energy production, which supports cell proliferation. In this sense, their amino acid dependency provides a metabolic vulnerability for treatment. Research has been aimed at starving cancerous cells of amino acids to improve cancer treatment outcomes. However, supplementing amino acids has also shown benefits both in vivo and in vitro. Further research into amino acid supplementation is needed, as deprivation exacerbates cancer cachexia, a risk best avoided in cancer treatment. Supplementing branched-chain amino acids has been proved as beneficial in hepatocellular carcinoma, and an essential amino acid rich diet has demonstrated decreased tumour growth in mice. Understanding more about amino acid metabolism in cancer may provide more efficient, personalised treatments for cancer patients.
This review by Ragni M et al. aimed to discuss amino acid deprivation and supplementation in reducing tumour growth, underscoring the complexity of the metabolic pathways involved.

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The bone-muscle connection in breast cancer: a review

Breast cancer treatments often lead to musculoskeletal morbidity; muscle loss in general is seen as a complication of breast cancer, affecting survival and quality of life. Emerging new research into the biochemical and molecular links between the skeletal and muscular systems is beginning to be taken into account, alongside the well-known anatomical relationship, to improve our understanding of these effects. This paper discussed treatments such as anti-oestrogen therapy, which deteriorates bone health and muscle mass, and the significance of these effects in lower survival rates and worse outcomes for patients. In this sense, exercise is concluded to be of aid for patients with breast cancer in improving their outcomes.
This review by Ballinger T et al. aimed to understand the relevance of musculoskeletal health to breast cancer, and the strategies that could aid patients in this disease.

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Perioperative nutrition and sarcopenic cancer: a review

Perioperative care in cancer patients is being reconsidered with our understanding of the association of sarcopenia and post-operative complications risks. Generally, there exists very little literature regarding the perioperative care of sarcopenic cancer patients. It has, however, been found that sarcopenic patients had significantly higher complication rates than that of non-sarcopenic patients. Future research needs to continue to understand the reasons behind this. Perioperative cancer also needs to be understood within various degrees of sarcopenia, through stratifying the population by muscle depletion and reduced function levels. Although nutritional support alone cannot counteract these issues that sarcopenic patients face, this approach can aid in decreasing progressive muscle mass loss, potentially lowering the risk of post-operative complications.
This review by Bozzetti F aimed to understand the relationship between sarcopenia, muscle mass loss, and nutritional interventions.

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Muscle depleted obesity and colorectal cancer: a review

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the world. However, incidence rates and mortality can both be significantly reduced through adhering to healthy lifestyle recommendations. In this study, 82 people were included, where their nutritional profile was evaluated to assess their risk of colorectal cancer. This is because obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for colorectal cancer, and when associated with sarcopenia, there are usually worse health outcomes. This study has therefore highlighted the need for understanding muscle composition in obese individuals when screening for cancer, as this may affect outcomes. Furthermore, this study underscores the necessity to aim for health lifestyles through weight control and physical exercise, to decrease incidence and mortality of diseases such as colorectal cancer.
This review by Santos M et al. aimed to evaluate nutritional profiles for those screening for colorectal cancer, to aid a better understanding of the risk factors behind this cancer.

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Frailty status, inflammatory, and muscle catabolism biomarker patterns: a strong association?

Fraily development is largely determined by low levels of nutrients, increased expression of inflammatory biomarkers, and age-related oxidative stress (OS). These frailty-related dysfunctions may lead to impairments in muscle structure and function, causing the onset of a muscle-catabolic state. As such, they may contribute to the development of sarcopenia, which is both a cause and a consequence of frailty.
Measuring biomarker patterns such as dietary, OS, inflammatory, and muscle-related biomarkers (e.g., 3-methylhistidine (3MH)) has been touted as a means to understand the complex mechanisms behind frailty. Despite this, data on multi-biomarker patterns remains scarce.

The aim of this study was to measure a variety of circulating biomarkers in an attempt to characterise their patterns. The existence of an association between these patterns and frailty status in non-frail and frail in-hospital patients was then assessed.

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The role of sarcopenia-associated mitochondrial dysfunction in recovery post-arthroplasty

Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is the main procedure used to treat end-stage osteoarthritis. Although it is a highly successful treatment associated with 10-year survival in over 90% of cases, approximately 25% of patients experience unsatisfactory functional outcomes. Poor recovery rates after TKA have been linked to sarcopenia, a condition up to 44% of patients undergoing TKA suffer from.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of sarcopenia’s major drivers. Despite this, mitochondrial function’s role in recovery post-TKA remains unknown.

The aim of this study was to investigate the link between mitochondrial function at baseline and recovery after TKA. To do so, activity after TKA was monitored using a wrist mounted tracker. From this data, the relationship between activity and traditional outcome measures (e.g. grip strength) associated with recovery was clarified.

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