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Sarcopenia and age in cancer patients: a review


Article: Sarcopenia, biological age and treatment eligibility in patients with cancer

Currently, medical treatment for cancer is personalised by looking at genetic and molecular factors of cancer cells. However, for characterising patients, factors such as age, weight, BMI, comorbidities, etc are used. Hence, there is no set, universal variable(s) to be used in managing cancer. It is possible that this is the reason that many anticancer drugs perform poorly clinically, due to this variability between patients. One of the factors that can be used is chronological age, which defines the patient’s accumulated damage to their system. Age is an accurate predictor of various outcomes, including the outcomes of anticancer drug therapies. For example, patients between the ages of 65-69 are often less likely to respond well to chemotherapy. A way to index age is sarcopenia, but due to the complex, varying body compositions associated with tumour growth, it is difficult to use sarcopenia consistently as an index for age in cancer management.

This review by Laviano A aimed to explore variables, such as sarcopenia and ageing, in their effects on cancer and anticancer drug successes.

Key learnings

Although ageing is already an acknowledged factor in understanding disease progression, integrating measures of sarcopenia may provide clinicians with relevant understandings of body composition, to highlight the patients’ needs for nutritional intervention.

Reviewed by: Z. Beketova

Authors: Laviano A

Published in: Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2022

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