Effect of nutritional interventions on nutritional status, quality of life and mortality in patients with head and neck cancer receiving (chemo) radiotherapy: a systematic review

J.A.E. Langius, M.C. Zandbergen, S.E.J. Eerenstein, M.W. van Tulder, C.R. Leemans, M.H.H. Kramer, P.J.M. Weijs

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Background and aims: We performed a systematic review to examine the effect of nutritional interventions on nutritional status, quality of life (QoL) and mortality in patients with head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) receiving radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. Methods: We searched Pubmed, EMBASE, CENTRAL and Cinahl from inception through January 3rd, 2012 to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from a broad range of nutritional interventions in patients with HNSCC during (chemo)radiotherapy. Two reviewers independently assessed study eligibility and risk of bias, and extracted data. Results: Of 1141 titles identified, 12 study reports were finally included, describing 10 different studies with 11 interventions. Four out of 10 studies examined the effects of individualized dietary counseling, and showed significant benefits on nutritional status and QOL compared to no counseling or general nutritional advice by a nurse (p<0.05). Three studies on oral nutritional supplements (ONS) were inconsistent about the effect on nutritional status compared with no supplementation. One study showed that nasogastric tube feeding had beneficial effects on nutritional status compared to ONS, but not in all patient groups (p<0.04). One study showed benefits of percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy (PEG) feeding on nutritional status shortly after RT compared with nasogastric feeding (p=0.001). Two studies showed that prophylactic PEG feeding was not superior over tube feeding if required. Conclusions: This review shows beneficial effects of individualized dietary counseling on nutritional status and QoL, compared to no counseling or standard nutritional advice. Effects of ONS and tube feeding were inconsistent. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-678
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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