Understanding cancer-induced cachexia: Imaging the flame and its fuel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose of review One of the most under explored and yet devastating consequences of cancer is cachexia, a condition in which the body is consumed by deranged carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism that is induced by inflammatory cytokines. Cachexia is associated with poor treatment outcome, fatigue and poor quality of life. Because of its multifactorial characteristics, it has been difficult to understand the impact of the tumor on body organs and the sequence of events that leads to cachexia. Such insights are critically important in identifying therapeutic strategies. Recent findings The ability to understand the interaction between the tumor and normal tissues and to noninvasively image the development of this condition would be invaluable in identifying critical stages when cachexia becomes life-threatening. Current multimodality molecular and functional imaging capabilities provide unique opportunities to study cachexia holistically in preclinical models and clinically. In this review we have provided examples of how state-of-the-art imaging techniques in combination with molecular characterization can be used to understand cancer-induced cachexia. Summary Such studies will lead to clinically translatable indices for the early detection of this condition and will identify novel targets to inhibit the cachexia cascade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-333
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in supportive and palliative care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Cachexia
  • Clinical translation
  • Metabolism
  • Molecular and functional imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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