Treatment strategies for the management of cancer patients are increasingly complex with the eligibility to receive standard of care therapy being the key concern. Various symptoms may surface in patients due to this chronic illness hindering the regular sessions of chemotherapy and/or radiation they need to undergo. These factors largely influence their quality of life by hampering their daily physical activities. The severe loss of fat and reduction of skeletal muscle characterizing cachexia is a common cause of morbidity and even mortality. Through clinicians primarily recommend nutrition-based therapy to combat this condition, but with limited effectiveness. A recent study by a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin may soon change this. The five-year study funded by National Cancer Institute looked at patients suffering with a special type of cancer and found that a testosterone therapy could potentially combat the rapid loss of body mass after they underwent chemotherapy. The findings of the research are published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle.
Testosterone as an Adjuvant to Standard of Care Therapy proved Helpful
Testosterone, the male sex hormone, is responsible for affecting muscle growth in healthy adults.
The study hoped to assess its role in patients with a special type of cancer characterized by squamous cell carcinoma by administrating testosterone or placebo as an adjuvant to their standard of care therapies. The participants received the therapy apart from the chemotherapy and radiations for seven weeks.
Rapid Loss of Muscle Mass may lead to Death in Cancer Patients
The researcher observed that the patients receiving the therapy could maintain total body mass and witnessed the increase in lean body mass by as much as 3.2 per cent. This favorably affected their physical activity level and they could do daily chores without any help. Further, the study concluded that they were eligible to receive further session of chemotherapy and/or radiation. Of note, cancer maintaining a minimum body mass is important since most of them may witness a loss of 20%, and around 20% of them die if the loss is severe or rapid.