Long-term follow-up of the potential benefits of early nutritional intervention in adults with upper gastrointestinal cancer: a pilot randomised trial

Kate Furness, Mary Anne Silvers, June Savva, Catherine E. Huggins, Helen Truby, Terry Haines

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate the long-term survival of all patients who participated in a pilot randomised trial of an early nutritional intervention for adults with upper gastrointestinal cancer. It also sought to identify factors that predicted patient mortality. Methods: All participants (n = 21) who were randomised into the original study were followed for a maximum of 5 years and 2 months (final follow-up April 2016). The primary outcome measure was time from date of recruitment until date of death, ascertained by the Victorian Cancer Registry and/or Monash Health Scanned Medical Records. Secondary analyses were conducted to identify factors that adversely affected survival. Results: At the end of the follow-up period, three patients were alive in the nutrition intervention group whilst only two patients were living from the standard care group. Visual evaluation of the Kaplan-Meier survival curves demonstrated a possible survival benefit from being exposed to the intervention between 6 months and 1.4 years post-recruitment, though this benefit dissipated soon after. The intervention was not associated with increased survival in univariate analyses, but was after adjustment for other factors found to adversely impact on survival (adjusted hazard ratio 0.12 (95% CI 0.02–0.72) p = 0.02). These factors were being a smoker (14.2 (1.43 to 140.67), p = 0.02); low baseline physical functioning (1.11 (1.01 to 1.21), p = 0.03); high baseline fatigue (1.09 (1.02–1.16), p = 0.007); and high baseline dyspnoea (1.08 (1.02–1.13), p = 0.003). Conclusion: Early and intensive nutrition intervention may increase the survival of people with upper gastrointestinal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3587-3593
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Dietetics
  • Oesophageal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Survival analysis

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