Nutrition modulation of gastrointestinal toxicity related to cancer chemotherapy: from preclinical findings to clinical strategy.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Chemotherapy-induced gut toxicity is a major dose-limiting toxicity for many anticancer drugs. Gastrointestinal (GI) complications compromise the efficacy of chemotherapy, promote overall malnutrition, aggravate cancer cachexia, and may contribute to worsened prognosis. The GI tract is an attractive target for nutrition modulation, owing to its direct exposure to the diet, participation in uptake and metabolism of nutrients, high rate of cell turnover, and plasticity to nutrition stimuli. Glutamine, ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and probiotics/prebiotics are therapeutic factors that potentially modulate GI toxicity related to cancer treatments. Preclinical and clinical evidence are reviewed to critically define plausible benefits of these factors and their potential development into adjuncts to cancer chemotherapy. Mechanisms underlying the action of these nutrients are being unraveled in the laboratory. Optimal strategies to translate these findings into clinical care still remain to be elucidated. Key questions that remain to be answered include the following: which nutrient or combination of nutrients is selected for which patient and chemotherapy regimen? What mechanisms are responsible for modulation, and how are nutrient(s) administered in a clinically optimal manner? Research exploring interactions between different nutrients in GI protection is ongoing and demands further understanding. How nutrition preparations given to chemotherapy-treated patients are formulated in terms of component selection and dose optimization should be carefully studied and justified.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Xue, H; Sawyer, MB; Wischmeyer, PE; Baracos, VE

Published Date

  • January 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 74 - 90

PubMed ID

  • 21224434

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1941-2444

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0148607110377338


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States