Perioperative nutrition interventions for women with ovarian cancer

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Background: Women with ovarian cancer have been shown to be at significant risk of malnutrition with incidence rates described as being between 28% to 67%. Nutrition interventions may improve clinical outcomes positively, nutritional status or quality of life measures in this patient group. Objectives: This review was conducted to assess the effects of nutrition interventions during the perioperative period for women with ovarian cancer. Search methods: Electronic searches were conducted of the Cochrane Gynaecological Cancer Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL 2012, Issue 7), Medline (1946 to July week 4 2012), Embase (1980 to 2012 week 31), DARE (to 7th August 2012) AMED (1985 to April 2012), BNI (1992 to April 2012), CINAHL (to April 2012). We also searched trials databases, conference proceedings and related citation lists. Reference listings were handsearched. No restrictions were applied on language or date. Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in which women 18 years and over with any stage of ovarian cancer, including recurrent cancer, were in the perioperative phase of treatment and received any type of nutrition intervention. Data collection and analysis: Titles and abstracts were screened by two review authors with study selection discussed by a team. Pairs of review authors worked independently on data collection and compared findings. Main results: A total of 4092 titles were screened and 14 full text reports reviewed; a single small study met the inclusion criteria. In the included RCT, 40 women (35 with ovarian cancer) had extensive elective surgery including bowel resection for treatment of gynaecological malignancy. Randomisation was made to either early oral feeding (oral fluids in the first 24 hours, solid foods on the following day) or to a 'traditional' feeding regimen where oral fluids and foods were delayed until there was evidence of bowel function. Most women in the early feeding group (14/18) were able to resume eating solid food one day after surgery. This resulted in a significantly shorter hospital stay with no increase in postoperative complications or change in quality of life measures in comparison with the women on the 'traditional' feeding regimen. The incidence of nausea and vomiting during the postoperative stay was similar in both groups and was noted in slightly more than half of the women. Overall survival was evaluated until 30 days following discharge from hospital; in this period, there was one death of a woman who had been in the 'traditional oral feeding' group, cause of death was not noted. We assessed risk of bias and found no high risk of bias was identified in the methodology and reporting of the included study, although there was an increased risk of bias due to the small size of the study in which not all of the women had ovarian cancer. Authors' conclusions: Although women with ovarian cancer have been shown to be at risk of malnutrition, there is a lack of evidence derived from RCTs evaluating the identification, assessment and treatment of malnutrition during the perioperative phase of treatment. There is evidence from one small study that some women with ovarian cancer undergoing surgery with associated bowel resection may safely commence oral fluids within 24 hours of surgery and solid foods on the following day. Further research is required, including a RCT, to generate guidance concerning the treatment of malnutrition in this patient group.




Billson, H. A., Holland, C., Curwell, J., Davey, V. L., Kinsey, L., Lawton, L. J., … Burden, S. (2013, September 11). Perioperative nutrition interventions for women with ovarian cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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