Updated: Jul 25, 2022
A syndrome that can be caused by multiple factors and is characterized by an ongoing loss of skeletal muscle mass (with or without a loss of fat mass) that cannot be reversed by conventional nutritional support and results in progressive functional impairment.
The pathophysiology of the condition is characterized by a negative balance of protein and energy, which is driven by a variable combination of decreased food intake and abnormal metabolism.
It has been suggested that the definition should be modified to include additional aspects, such as the level of C-reactive protein (CRP) and the loss of appetite.
Cachexia caused by cancer makes patients' quality of life worse and reduces their response to treatment, which in turn increases their risk of morbidity and mortality.
It is present in fifty percent of cancer patients and is responsible for twenty percent or more of cancer-related deaths.