Study: Early Evaluation of Nutritional Status Needed to Provide Support, Decrease Risk of Malnutrition in Cancer Patients


Study shows that upon hospital admission for cancer, many patients already have a high prevalence of malnutrition per Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition criteria.

Findings presented at the European Society of Modern Oncology 2020 showed that upon hospital admission for cancer, patients already demonstrated a high prevalence of malnutrition per Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) criteria, which was associated with the risk of developing a nosocomial infection (NI).

Dr. Martin Nuñez Abad, of the Medical Oncology Department, Hospital General Universitario Valencia in Valencia, Spain, and colleagues investigated the nutritional status of patients hospitalized for cancer to determine the prevalence of malnutrition according to GLIM criteria and to determine the association between malnutrition with the risk of NI and length of hospital stay.

The study included 107 patients with a mean average of approximately 66 years of age, as well as 66.4% of the patients being male and 70.1% of patients with advanced disease. The patients were admitted to the oncology department of the General University Hospital of Valencia from November 2019 to March 2020, and nutritional status was evaluated within the first 48 hours after admission.

The researchers found that, on admission, 48 patients presented with severe malnutrition and 19 patients had moderate malnutrition per GLIM criteria. In addition, 77 patients also presented with dynapenia and 18 patients had sarcopenia.

During a mean hospital stay of 13.9 days, 43 patients developed an NI, which were primarily respiratory tract infections in 26 patients. Patients developing an NI had significantly lower weight, body mass index, and fat free mass index than the overall patient cohort, but phase angle was not lower, according to the study authors.

NI occurred in 42.1% of patients with moderate malnutrition and 52.1% patients with severe malnutrition compared with 10 infections in 25% of patients without signs of malnutrition. The incidence of NI was highest in patients with sarcopenia compared with 36% in the hospitalized patients overall. Further, the length of hospital stay was prolonged in patients with NI compared with patients overall, with a mean length stay of 18.6 days versus 10.8 days, respectively.

The study authors concluded that the prevalence of malnutrition in patients hospitalized for cancer is high. Additionally, malnutrition per GLIM criteria and sarcopenia are associated with a high risk of NI.

An adequate nutritional evaluation was suggested by the study authors, which is essential for a timely implementation of nutritional support to avoid malnutrition, sarcopenia, and to decrease NI.


Nuñez Abad M, Garrido Gallego J, Iranzo V, et al. Impact of malnutrition according to the GLIM criteria in cancer patients admitted to hospital. ESMO Virtual Congress 2020. Published September 21, 2020. Accessed September 24, 2020.

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