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Cindy Tan & team: Body composition changes in cancer patients during chemotherapy

RESEARCH TYPE
T2,T3
PROGRAM
Flagship 2 Pilot and Seed
TAGS
    Personalised medicine
    New therapies and diagnostics
    Colorectal cancer
STATUS
In Progress

Chemotherapy dosing is generally determined by a patient's height and weight. This does not account for their body composition and can be inaccurate, particularly in people who are obese or underweight. This can result in them either receiving a higher dose of chemotherapy than required, with added side effects, or not receiving sufficient chemotherapy. Body composition is currently difficult to measure and requires CT or DEXA scans, which are not routinely used for monitoring disease in patients with early stage cancer and involves radiation exposure and increased cost. We propose using a non-invasive Bio-electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) machine to determine cancer patient's body composition. The BIA requires patients to stand on the machine for 2 minutes and involves no radiation. We will compare the dose of chemotherapy calculated by the body composition from the BIA machine, with height and weight methods, and with CT scan calculations and review chemotherapy side effects. The BIA has the potential to provide a simple, non-invasive, more accurate method of calculating chemotherapy dose. This could decrease toxicity of chemotherapy and improve disease outcome for patients, while decreasing radiation exposure, resource allocation and inconvenience associated with determining body composition by CT or DEXA scans.

Pilot and Seed Funding Awarded:

  • CIA: Cindy Tan
  • Member Group: Concord Repatriation General Hospital
  • Year and Duration: 2018 for 12 months
  • Amount: $50,000

 

Cindy Tan

5 Minutes with Cindy Tan

What was the catalyst to you researching this topic right now?

It is apparent that body composition is important and associated with clinical outcomes in cancer studies.

Why will this investigation be important in the field of translational research?

Body composition has been demonstrated to be associated with clinical outcomes, including toxicities from chemotherapy.  Current gaps in the literature include whether longitudinal changes in body composition, as measured by the Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), are associated with a patient's tolerance of chemotherapy, and whether using BIA to measure body composition during treatment, or in routine clinical cancer care, is feasible.  Positive results from this study have the potential to change current clinical practice, including offering a more precise method for determining the optimal dose of chemotherapy, and allowing clinicians to provide personalised chemotherapy dosage, according to muscle mass rather than body weight per se, particularly in patients who are obese, underweight or have sarcopenic obesity.  Subsequent to this study, researchers will be able to collaborate with clinicians to design intervention studies to routinely measure and improve patients' body composition at appropriate time points during chemotherapy (e.g. using exercise and nutrition rehabilitation programs to improve muscle mass and functional status) with the aim of improving patient's tolerance of chemotherapy and their quality of life.  BIA can be easily adapted by other cancer clinicians nationally and internationally. If body composition changes are associated with patients' tolerance of chemotherapy, changing the method of dosing can minimise unnecessary toxicities, and interventions such as exercise and nutrition related studies can subsequently be used to improve patients' body composition.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

Europe.

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