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  • Author: Nicolantonio D’Orazio x
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Assessment of body composition in oncologic patients: Experimental survey on the role of bioimpedentiometric analysis


Overall survival of oncologic patients is strongly influenced by the incidence of malnutrition, with subsequent loss of muscle mass until sarcopenia. In this respect, the assessment of body composition has a pivotal role in order to manage the clinical consequences of muscle loss.


This study focuses on the body composition assessment in oncologic patients, following a diet plan in order to detect and contrast neoplastic cachexia.

Materials and Method:

35 oncologic patients were enrolled and divided into two groups: 24 responders (R) and 11 non-responders (NR). Anthropometric data were collected and body composition was assessed through bioimpedentiometry. All patients received an individualized normocaloric diet. Energetic content was assigned on the basis of individual basal metabolic rate estimated by BIA. All patients were revaluated by anthropometry and bioimpedentiometry 3 and 6 months thereafter.


Comparing the two male groups R and NR after 6 months, the former maintained almost the same confidence interval, unlike the latter whose interval increased, indicating a light worsening both of body composition and of clinical conditions. Furthermore, in the same male responder group, an improvement of the phase angle (PhA), a positive prognostic factor, was found, with an average weight loss between 2,6 – 3 kg of fat mass (FM). Besides, data show how the R female group maintained the confidence interval unlike the NR female group, whose confidence interval remarkably increased, therefore indicating an important alteration of body composition and subsequently a clinical conditions worsening. Finally, comparing the NR male group with the NR female group after 6 months, a remarkable worsening of body composition (marker of tissue decay and damage) could be noticed in the latter group.


After 6 months, NR patients show worse results (both in the body composition and in the clinical conditions) compared to the responders, with particularly worse results in females, probably because of a genetically determined sex-related smaller muscle cells and inferior muscular strength. A multidimensional assessment of oncologic patient is necessary, with a special attention to nutritional evaluation and body composition monitoring, in order to avoid malnutrition and subsequent further clinical worsening.

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