Is there a genetic cause of appetite loss?—an explorative study in 1,853 cancer patients

Tora S Solheim (Corresponding Author), Peter M Fayers, Torill Fladvad, Ben Tan, Frank Skorpen, Kenneth Fearon, Vickie E Baracos, Pål Klepstad, Florian Strasser, Stein Kaasa

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
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Appetite loss has a major impact on cancer patients. It is exceedingly prevalent, is a prognostic indicator and is associated with inferior quality of life. Cachexia is a multi-factorial syndrome defined by a negative protein and energy balance, driven by a variable combination of reduced food intake and abnormal metabolism. Not all cancer patients that experience weight loss have appetite loss, and the pathophysiology between cachexia and appetite loss may thus be different. Knowledge of pathophysiology of appetite loss in cancer patients is still limited. The primary object of this study was to explore the association with 93 predefined candidate single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and appetite loss in cancer patients to possibly generate new theories of the pathophysiology of the condition.
A total of 1,853 cancer patients were phenotyped according to appetite loss and then genotyped.
After allowing for multiple testing, there was no statistically significant
association between any of the SNPs analysed and appetite loss. The ten most significant SNPs in the co-dominant model had observed odds ratios varying
from 0.72 to 1.28.
This large exploratory study could not find any associations with loss of appetite and 93 SNPs with a potential to be involved in appetite loss in cancer patients.
This does not however rule out genes putative role in the development of the symptom, but the observed odds ratios are close to one which makes it unlikely that any of the individual SNPs explored in the present study have great
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle
Issue number3
Early online date26 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

Bibliographical note

The authors thank Daniel L. Marks, Oregon, USA and William F Colmers, Alberta, Canada for valuable discussions concerning candidate SNPs. The authors of this manuscript certify that they comply with the ethical guidelines for authorship and publishing in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle [32].
Conflicts of interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest


  • Anorexia
  • Appetite loss
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • SNP
  • Genetic


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