Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of anorexia and weight loss at diagnosis (pre-treatment), to identify the factors associated with pre-treatment weight loss, and to determine the prognostic role of anorexia and weight loss in the overall survival of patients with stage IV lung cancer.
Methods: This was a retrospective observational cohort study. The patients were stratified by the presence/absence of anorexia and of pre-treatment weight loss, which generated a measure composed of four categories, which were the independent variables.
Results: Among the 552 patients included in the study, anorexia and pre-treatment weight loss were present in 39.1% and 70.1%, respectively. After adjusting for age, male gender, and Karnofsky performance status, we found that anorexia and tumor size were significantly associated with pre-treatment weight loss. In a Cox multivariate analysis, adjusted for age, male gender and low Karnofsky performance status were found to be independent predictors of worse survival, as was concomitance of anorexia and weight loss.
Conclusions: Anorexia and pre-treatment weight loss appear to be relevant problems in the follow-up of patients with advanced (stage IV) lung cancer Specific interventions are of crucial importance in individualized treatment plans, even within the context of palliative care.