Cachexia influences morbidity, mortality and quality of life of cancer patients at advanced stage of disease. Therefore, the
knowledge of its pathophysiology is critical to develop effective therapies to be integrated in the comprehensive approach of cancer patients.
Oxidative stress, unless counteracted by effective antioxidant therapies, contributes to the development of anorexia and cachexia in
cancer patients. In the present review the potential role of targeting oxidative stress in the treatment of cachexia is reported. Efficacy data
on the use of antioxidants in advanced cancer patients are promising. However, the optimal dosage and route of administration as well as
the timing and the most effective combination are not well established. Moreover, since cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome, targeting
only oxidative stress as a contributing factor would be inadequate and likely to achieve a limited clinical therapeutic benefit. According
to this rationale, antioxidants should be included as essential components of a multitargeted combined treatment of cancer cachexia,
which has been shown to be the most successful approach for this syndrome.
Keywords: Cancer cachexia, oxidative stress, antioxidants, chronic inflammation, combined approach, morbidity, mortality, optimal dosage, route of administration, syndrome.
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Published on: 02 September, 2012
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