In patients with advanced cancer, anorexia, or loss of appetite, is prevalent, distressing, and predictive of a poor prognosis. Patients with cancer who are receiving antineoplastic treatment experience this symptom, as do patients with cancer who are no longer receiving such therapy. Yet palliative options remain limited. The two most frequently used palliative measures employ progestational agents and corticosteroids. Both classes of agents provide only modest clinical benefits. Recent studies suggest promising results with melatonin, blockade of tumor necrosis factor-α, necrosis factor-κ B decoys, adenosine triphosphate, antiemetics, and anti-inflammatory agents. These agents appear promising, but further clinical research is needed before they can be prescribed outside clinical trial settings.
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