Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2019; 23 (3): 1165-1175

DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_201901_17009

Impact of malnutrition on survival and infections among pediatric patients with cancer: a retrospective study

S. Triarico, E. Rinninella, M. Cintoni, M.A. Capozza, S. Mastrangelo, M.C. Mele, A. Ruggiero

Dipartimento di Scienze della Salute della Donna e del Bambino, UOSA di Oncologia Pediatrica, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy. emanuele.rinninella@unicatt.it


OBJECTIVE: Recognizing and managing malnutrition among hospitalized children affected by cancer is a rising need. Awareness and consideration of malnutrition among clinicians are still largely insufficient. This can principally be explained by the lack of consciousness and the shortage of easy and objective tools to identify malnutrition status. The aim of this study is to explore the impact of malnutrition on survival and infections among a population of pediatric patients with cancer.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: All children aged between 3 and 18 years, newly diagnosed with a malignancy between August 2013 and April 2018, were included in our study. We assessed nutritional risk at diagnosis (with STRONGkids), then we evaluated anthropometric measurements (BMI Z-scores and weight loss), data about survival and number of hospitalization for febrile neutropenia (FN) in the first year after diagnosis. Cut-off values for malnourishment were chosen as BMI Z-score ≤-2.0.

RESULTS: One hundred twenty-six pediatric cancer patients were included in the study. At diagnosis 36 pediatric cancer patients (28.6%) were at high risk of malnutrition (STRONGkids 4 or 5), whereas 6 (4.7%) others were malnourished (BMI Z-score≤-2.0). The risk of mortality and the rate of infections (≥3 hospitalizations for FN episodes) were significantly increased by malnutrition and rapid weight loss in the initial phase of treatment (3-6 months after diagnosis). Multivariate analysis confirmed the independent effect of weight loss≥ 5% at 3 months on both survival and infections, and the independent impact of a high risk of malnutrition at diagnosis on infections.

CONCLUSIONS: A personalized evaluation of nutritional risk at diagnosis and a close monitoring of nutritional status during the initial phase of treatment are crucial for ensuring a timely and personalized nutritional intervention, which may potentially improve tolerance to chemotherapy and survival, and prevent prolonged hospitalization for infections in childhood cancer patients.

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To cite this article

S. Triarico, E. Rinninella, M. Cintoni, M.A. Capozza, S. Mastrangelo, M.C. Mele, A. Ruggiero
Impact of malnutrition on survival and infections among pediatric patients with cancer: a retrospective study

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2019
Vol. 23 - N. 3
Pages: 1165-1175
DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_201901_17009