The new website “CancerCachexiaHub” is the first site in the world dedicated to Cancer Anorexia-Cachexia Syndrome (CACS): a new place where state-of-the-art knowledge on this wasting disease is brought together and shared. The website thanks to the support and collaboration of a Board of Scientific Experts on the syndrome - is intended to draw interest and knowledge about CACS, and is targeted at all health care providers physicians, nurses, nutritionists dedicated to providing integrated care to their cancer patients.
Cancer Anorexia-Cachexia Syndrome (CACS) is a multifactorial syndrome that has a negative impact on the functional performance, quality of life and prognosis of cancer patients. It is defined by an ongoing loss of skeletal muscle mass (with or without loss of fat mass) that is unable to be fully reversed by conventional nutritional support and leads to progressive functional impairment. It is characterized by a collection of signs and symptoms that include weight loss, poor appetite, fatigue, reduced functional performance and chronic inflammation.1,6
The occurrence of CACS is high, especially in patients with advanced cancer, accounting for 40%-80% depending on the tumor type. Nonetheless, CACS is often underdiagnosed and remains an unmet medical need.6,7 Despite its major impact, current levels of awareness and knowledge sharing on CACS is low among health care providers, often confined to restricted specialized environments, such as palliative care centers and scientific congresses.
CACS, therefore, represents today an important unmet medical need in cancer patient care.
“Today there is a major need for the health care community to be aware of the importance and prevalence of CACS, and to have a better understanding of the pathophysiology behind the different components of this syndrome states Jose M. Garcia, Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine and member of the Scientific Board of the hub Within this context, there is clearly a strong need to have a central place like CancerCachexiaHub where HCPs can access valuable resources in order to educate other HCPs as well as patients and their families. This will allow for improved assessment, diagnosis and staging, and to better manage the different options that are available to treat CACS.”
CANCERCACHEXIAHUB: Contents & services in 4 integrated areas
The site is divided into four sections:
1. Scientific Board: provides interviews, biography and information on the CancerCachexiaHub Scientific Board. Furthermore, it collects editorial articles written by the Board.
2. Cancer Cachexia Guide: represents consensus-and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for the management of CACS in advanced cancer patients.
3. News & Updates: a collection of News, Meetings and Conferences dedicated to Cancer Anorexia-Cachexia Syndrome.
4. Resource: contains interviews, downloadable materials, slide kits and videos dedicated to Cancer Anorexia Cachexia Syndrome plus a collection of video interviews from the Scientific Board.
A Board of Scientific Experts
The CancerCachexiaHub was developed with the collaboration and support of three experts on the disease according to their own areas of competence:
Egidio Del Fabbro, MD, a physician and scientist with specific clinical and research interests in cancer-related fatigue and cachexia. He directs a robust research program with a history of peer-reviewed funding. He is also senior editor of the Oxford University textbook 'Nutrition and the Cancer Patient'.
Jose M. Garcia, MD, PhD, currently involved in research focused on the role of ghrelin and other anabolic pathways in different wasting conditions. His group is currently working on several human trials using different anabolic therapies for the treatment of wasting as well as in the development of different animal models to unravel the physiology of wasting and the mechanisms of action of different potential therapies.
Jane Hopkinson, Professor of Nursing, School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University, a Registered General Nurse with a long standing interest in nursing practice development and research into supportive, palliative and end of life care. From 2002 to 2011, she was Principal Investigator for a program of work entitled the ‘Macmillan Weight and Eating Studies’ based at the University of Southampton. The studies are recognized both nationally and internationally as delivering new understanding of cancer cachexia and innovations in supportive care for patients and families affected by the syndrome.
“Our commitment to this initiative state the three Experts - is to help health care providers find guidance and answers in their approach to CACS and respond to their need for information and resources. Ultimately, collaborating on the creation of the Hub, our aim is to increase the focus on CACS in order to better help patients and their relatives. For this reason, from 2014, we plan to make a section available entirely dedicated to patients and their careers.”
CancerCachexiaHub is managed by PHCG - a communications agency specialized in healthcare communication and supported by Helsinn Group a privately owned pharmaceutical group.
1. Fearon K et al. Definition and classification of cancer cachexia: an international consensus. Lancet Oncol 2011;12:489 95.
2. Fearon K et al. Understanding the mechanisms and treatment options in cancer cachexia. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2013;10:90 9.
3. Benner A et al. Cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome (CACS) is under-recognized among patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (MNSCLC). Support Cancer Care DOI 10.1007.s00520-013-1798-3. MASCC 2013.
4. Bennani-Baiti N et al. What is cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome? A historical perspective. J R Coll Physicians Edinb 2009;39:257 62.
5. Vaughan VC et al. Cancer cachexia: impact, mechanisms and emerging treatments. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 2013;4:95 109.
6. Del Fabbro E, Inui A, Strasser F. Cancer Cachexia. Springer Healthcare, 2012.
7. von Haehling S et al. Cachexia as a major underestimated and unmet medical need: facts and numbers. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 2010;1:1 5.