Efficacy of Anamorelin, a Novel Non-Peptide Ghrelin Analogue, in Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and Cachexia-Review and Expert Opinion

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Journal Article
International journal of molecular sciences, 2018, 19 (11)
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Cancer cachexia is a multilayered syndrome consisting of the interaction between tumor cells and the host, at times modulated by the pharmacologic treatments used for tumor control. Key cellular and soluble mediators, activated because of this interaction, induce metabolic and nutritional alterations. This results in mass and functional changes systemically, and can lead to increased morbidity and reduced length and quality of life. For most solid malignancies, a cure remains an unrealistic goal, and targeting the key mediators is ineffective because of their heterogeneity/redundancy. The most beneficial approach is to target underlying systemic mechanisms, an approach where the novel non-peptide ghrelin analogue anamorelin has the advantage of stimulating appetite and possibly food intake, as well as promoting anabolism and significant muscle mass gain. In the ROMANA studies, compared with placebo, anamorelin significantly increased lean body mass in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Body composition analysis suggested that anamorelin is an active anabolic agent in patients with NSCLC, without the side effects of other anabolic drugs. Anamorelin also induced a significant and meaningful improvement of anorexia/cachexia symptoms. The ROMANA trials have provided unprecedented knowledge, highlighting the therapeutic effects of anamorelin as an initial, but significant, step toward directly managing cancer cachexia.
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