Article Abstract

Megestrol acetate in cancer patients with anorexia-cachexia syndrome: a meta-analysis

Authors: Ping Zhan, Qin Wang, Qian Qian, Li-Ke Yu


Background: Anorexia-cachexia syndrome (ACS) often occurs in patients with advanced cancer. To evaluate the effect of megestrol acetate (MA) in cancer patients with ACS, a meta-analysis of published randomized controlled trials (RCT) was performed.

Methods: The databases of PubMed and Web of Science were searched from January 1966 until April 2013 and abstracts presented at American Society of Clinical Oncology conferences were searched to identify relevant clinical trials. Summary relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Results: Data from a total of 1,142 cancer patients with ACS in 11 RCTs were identified and included for meta-analysis. Cancer patients with ACS who received MA had increased weight gain (179 events among 534 patients treated with MA vs. 83 events among 447 control patients; RR 2.17; 95% CI: 1.59-2.97), and increased appetite improvement (174 events among 321 patients treated with MA vs. 53 events among 280 control patients; RR 4.68; 95% CI: 3.25-6.76).

Conclusions: The use of MA can improve appetite and is associated with weight gain in cancer patients with ACS. Despite the fact that these patients are receiving palliative care they should be informed of the risks involved in taking MA.