Role of nutritional status in predicting quality of life outcomes in cancer – a systematic review of the epidemiological literature
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Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:27 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-27Published: 24 April 2012
Malnutrition is a significant factor in predicting cancer patients’ quality of life (QoL). We systematically reviewed the literature on the role of nutritional status in predicting QoL in cancer. We searched MEDLINE database using the terms “nutritional status” in combination with “quality of life” together with “cancer”. Human studies published in English, having nutritional status as one of the predictor variables, and QoL as one of the outcome measures were included. Of the 26 included studies, 6 investigated head and neck cancer, 8 gastrointestinal, 1 lung, 1 gynecologic and 10 heterogeneous cancers. 24 studies concluded that better nutritional status was associated with better QoL, 1 study showed that better nutritional status was associated with better QoL only in high-risk patients, while 1 study concluded that there was no association between nutritional status and QoL. Nutritional status is a strong predictor of QoL in cancer patients. We recommend that more providers implement the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) guidelines for oncology patients, which includes nutritional screening, nutritional assessment and intervention as appropriate. Correcting malnutrition may improve QoL in cancer patients, an important outcome of interest to cancer patients, their caregivers, and families.