Oesophageal cancer: The effect of early nutrition support on clinical outcomes

Sarah Davies, Malcolm West, Luise Marino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Malnutrition is prevalent in oesophageal cancer. Evidence for the use of nutrition support and prehabilitation in this cohort is variable. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of early nutrition support and functional measures of nutritional status on post-operative outcomes in adult patients with oesophageal cancer. Methods: Retrospective review of adults with oesophageal cancer undergoing oesophagectomy (n = 151). Early nutrition support was defined as: oral or enteral nutrition supplementation during neoadjuvant treatment. Late nutrition support defined as: oral or enteral nutrition supplementation prescribed post-operatively. Nutrition outcome measures were; percentage weight loss from 3 to 6 months prior to diagnosis, peri- and post-operatively, and pre-operative assessment of handgrip-strength (HGS). Results: Pre-operative weight loss ≥10% was a significant predictor of mortality at 1 year (OR 2.84, 95%CI 1.03-7.83, p = 0.04) independent of tumour stage, adjuvant treatment, age and gender. Adults prescribed early nutrition support during neoadjuvant treatment experienced less weight loss at 12-months post-oesophagectomy compared to adults prescribed late oral nutrition support (p=<0.05). Pre-operative HGS measurements were not a useful predictor of postoperative complications (p = 0.2), length of stay (p = 0.9) or 90-day mortality (p = 0.6). Conclusions: Pre-operative weight loss ≥10% was associated with mortality. Early nutrition support was associated with less weight loss at 12-months post-operatively. Pre-operative HGS measures did not have prognostic value as a stand-alone measure. Future work should investigate the efficacy of early nutrition support in reducing both pre- and post-operative weight loss to improve nutritional status and surgical outcomes as part of a multimodal prehabilitation programme in adults with oesophageal cancer.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Nutrition ESPEN
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2021


  • Esophageal cancer
  • Esophagectomy
  • Handgrip strength
  • Nutrition support
  • Prehabilitation

Cite this