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Echium oil is not protective against weight loss in head and neck cancer patients undergoing curative radio(chemo)therapy: a randomised-controlled trial

Echium oil is not protective against weight loss in head and neck cancer patients undergoing curative radio(chemo)therapy: a randomised-controlled trial

Pottel, Lies, Lycke, Michelle, Boterberg, Tom, Pottel, Hans, Goethals, Laurence, Duprez, Fréderic, Maes, Alex, Goemaere, Stefan, Rottey, Sylvie, Foubert, Imogen and Debruyne, Philip (2014) Echium oil is not protective against weight loss in head and neck cancer patients undergoing curative radio(chemo)therapy: a randomised-controlled trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 14 (382). p. 382. (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-382)

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Abstract

Background:
Therapy-induced mucositis and dysphagia puts head and neck (H&N) cancer patients at increased risk for developing cachexia. Omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 FA) have been suggested to protect against cachexia. We aimed to examine if echium oil, a plant source of n-3 FA, could reduce weight loss in H&N cancer patients undergoing radio(chemo)therapy with curative intent.

Methods:
In a double-blind trial, patients were randomly assigned to echium oil (intervention (I) group; 7.5 ml bis in die (b.i.d.), 235 mg/ml α-linolenic acid (ALA) + 95 mg/ml stearidonic acid (SDA) + 79 mg/ml γ-linolenic acid (GLA)) or n-3 FA deficient sunflower oil high oleic (control (C) group; 7.5 ml b.i.d.) additional to standard nutritional support during treatment. Differences in percentage weight loss between both groups were analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle. Erythrocyte FA profile, body composition, nutritional status and quality of life were collected.

Results:
Ninety-one eligible patients were randomised, of whom 83 were evaluable. Dietary supplement adherence was comparable in both groups (median, I: 87%, C: 81%). At week 4, the I group showed significantly increased values of erythrocyte n-3 eicosapentanoic acid (EPA, 14% vs −5%) and n-6 GLA (42% vs −20%) compared to the C group, without a significant change in n-6 arachidonic acid (AA, 2% vs −1%). Intention-to-treat analysis could not reveal a significant reduction in weight loss related to echium oil consumption (median weight loss, I: 8.9%, C: 7.6%). Also, no significant improvement was observed in the other evaluated anthropometric parameters.

Conclusions:
Echium oil effectively increased erythrocyte EPA and GLA FAs in H&N cancer patients. It failed however to protect against weight loss, or improve nutritional parameters.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01596933.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Head and neck cancer, Cachexia, Echium oil, Weight loss, Radio(chemo)therapy, Curative intent
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education & Health
Faculty of Education & Health > Centre for Positive Ageing
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 10:29
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/13466

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