Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of cancer cachexia: A systematic review

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer cachexia is a devastating syndrome of advanced malignancy which negatively impacts on patients’ morbidity, mortality and quality of life. Chronic inflammation is a key characteristic of cancer cachexia. Therefore, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be able to break the cycle of cachexia.

To systematically review the literature on the use of NSAIDs for the treatment of cachexia in advanced cancer patients.

All titles retrieved through searching were downloaded to a reference management database, duplicates were removed and the remaining citations were checked for eligibility. Full copies of all eligible articles were obtained and reviewed.

Data sources:
Electronic searches (from inception up to 09/2011) included CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science. Reference lists from reviewed articles, trial registers and abstracts from relevant conferences were searched. Eligibility criteria were (a) Randomised Controlled Trial; (b) participants were adults with cancer with weight loss or a clinical diagnosis of cachexia; (c) administration of oral NSAIDs.

Four studies were included. These studies provided some evidence of positive therapeutic effect on quality of life, performance status, inflammatory markers, weight gain and survival, but there was insufficient evidence demonstrated for their widespread use in practice.

Insufficient studies have been performed to allow a conclusion to be formed with regard to the effectiveness of NSAIDs in the treatment of cachexia in advanced cancer. Major challenges in this patient cohort include the lack of uniformity of inclusion criteria across studies and the frailty of the patients recruited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-303
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date26 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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