A review shows new findings on the connection between cancer and cachexia


Posted 12/12/2018 15:36:09CET

It highlights the role of systemic inflammation in the process of muscle loss


A review signed by three scientists from the University of Barcelona (UB) and a BS Nutrition Center showed new findings on the connection between cancer and cachexia – a multiorgan syndrome manifested by the severe reduction of adipose tissue and muscle mass in cancer , infections and other diseases.

The paper, published in Nature Reviews in Endocrinology, details the molecular signals that regulate the communication between tissues of the body in cancer cachexia, and details that several tumor factors and other molecules are the main biochemical mediators in the communication channels between tissues in the tumor cachexia.

Some non-muscular organs and tissues – even tumors – can synthesize molecules that alter metabolic pathways in people affected by cachexia, according to experts, the university said in a statement on Wednesday.

In the case of tumors, the cancer cells do not respond to the molecular signals of their environment and show a profoundly altered energy metabolism, and the high energy demand of these tissues – in competition with the rest of the cells for nutrients – and the lower food intake by the determine the progress of the condition.

Cachexia, as a whole, reduces the effectiveness of antitumor treatments, impairs the quality of life of the patient and worsens the evolution of the tumor.


The new work also reviewed the molecular connections between the processes of inflammation, metabolism and cancer, and emphasized the role of systemic inflammation – which affects the whole body – in the activation of mass loss. muscle

Specifically, systemic inflammation is a process capable of triggering a multiorgan response that alters the protein metabolism in the liver and activates the synthesis of acute phase proteins.

The metabolic role of adipose tissue in cancer cachexia has not yet been well defined in the scientific literature and, according to the authors, adipose tissue (white and brown) has an active metabolic role, as it promotes the sending of molecular signals towards the skeletal muscle to modeling protein turnover.

On the other hand, it also activates thermogenesis – by transforming white adipose cells into brown – in a way that generates metabolic inefficiency and contributes to weight loss in cachectic patients.

Specialists Josep M. Argilés, Sílvia Busquets and Francisco J. López Soriano, from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biomedicine and the Institute of Biomedicine of UB (IBUB), and Britta Stemmler (BS Nutrition Center) are signing this review.


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