An overview of anamorelin as a treatment option for cancer-associated anorexia and cachexia

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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2021 Jan 25:1-8. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2021.1873954. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Cancer cachexia is a complex multifaceted syndrome involving functional impairment, changes in body composition, and nutritional disorders. The treatment of cancer cachexia can be based on these three domains of the syndrome. Phase II and III trials of anamorelin, a ghrelin mimetic agent, have been shown to increase body weight in patients with cancer cachexia, mainly by increasing muscle and fat mass. Anamorelin has been shown to improve anorexia scores.

AREAS COVERED: This review aims to outline the effect of anamorelin on body composition and functional parameters as well as to discuss the clinical importance of these alterations in patients with cancer cachexia.

EXPERT OPINION: To date, there is no treatment approved to enhance body composition and functional parameters in patients with cancer cachexia. Anamorelin, the most advanced therapy to treat cachexia, has not yielded convincing results in all aspects of the syndrome. In particular, no effect has been noted on physical function and long-term survival. Along with these essential improvements for future interventions with anamorelin, subsequent studies must address other etiologies of cancer, rather than non-small cell lung cancer, and add complementary therapies, such as exercise training and nutritional interventions, in an attempt to overcome cancer cachexia.

PMID:33491505 | DOI:10.1080/14656566.2021.1873954