Dietary Intake of Proteins in Patients with Cancer

The typical nutrient intakes of individuals with advanced cancer have not been widely studied. This would appear to be an important deficit, as it is obvious that no anti-cachexia strategy is likely to be entirely effective unless coupled with adequate intake of essential nutrients, including proteins, and any need for supplementation must necessarily be considered in the context of the level of intake. A couple of relevant citations on dietary intakes of cancer patients may be found in the recent literature. Fearon (2003) reported the typical protein and energy intake of patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer who completed 3-day dietary records [16]. On average, total energy intakes were 1500-1600 kcal/day and protein intakes were 60-63 g protein/day, to provide an overall protein:energy

(P:E) ratio of 0.040. These data are highly consistent with our results (Hutton et al., unpublished observations) in a population of 96 patients with solid tumours (mostly lung and gastrointestinal) with advanced disease, who had average intakes of 1578 kcal and 63 g protein/day and a P:E of 0.040. Most recently, Lundholm et al. presented selected intake data on 309 patients with solid tumours mostly of gastrointestinal origin, and the energy intake of this group was 1600-1700 kcal/day: the protein intakes were not reported [17].

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