I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

2020 Apr 17

Healthcare (Basel)



Nutritional Issues in Head and Neck Cancer Patients.


Bozzetti F, Cotogni P
Healthcare (Basel). 2020 Apr 17; 8(2).
PMID: 32316416.


The purpose of this paper is to update the oncologist on the correct approach to the nutritional care of the head and neck cancer patient. Recent scientific contributions on this issue, with a special emphasis on international guidelines and randomised clinical trials (RCTs), are reviewed. The following points are noteworthy: 1. Despite the advances in early diagnosis and modern treatment of head and neck cancer, this tumour still ranks first regarding frequency and severity of weight loss, both at the clinical presentation and during the therapy. 2. This is due to the combination of poor alimentation because of the tumour mass localization, as well as of the presence of an inflammatory response which furtherly drives catabolism. 3. Several studies have shown a very limited role for a dietary counselling unless it includes oral nutritional supplements which are protein or omega-3 fatty acid enriched. 4. A parental nutritional supplementation could represent an acceptable short-term alternative. 5. Long-term nutritional support relies on the use of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG), whereas the role of a prophylactic or "a la demande" PEG is still unsettled and requires further investigations. In conclusion, the nutritional approach using specific formulas and the appropriate route of administration should be part of the therapeutic armamentarium of the modern oncologist.