Alessandro Laviano, MD, is associate professor of Internal Medicine at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. He works at the Clinical Nutrition Unit of the Sapienza University Hospital in Rome, Italy. Also, Dr. Laviano holds a position of Visiting Research Professor at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, USA. He is an Expert Reviewer for the Framework Programs of the European Commission, Bruxelles. Dr Laviano received his MD degree at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, where he also completed the residency programmes in Internal Medicine and Nephrology. In the period 1994-1995, Dr. Laviano worked as a research fellow in the Surgical Metabolism Laboratory at the Department of Surgery, SUNY Health Science Center, Syracuse, NY, USA. Dr. Laviano joined the Faculty of the Medical School at Sapienza University in 1998, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007.
Dr. Laviano’s main research interests are: regulation of food intake under physiological and pathological conditions, disease-associated anorexia and cachexia, hyperphagia and obesity, impact and treatment of hospital malnutrition. In particular, Dr. Laviano has been studying the role of brain activity in the pathogenesis of cancer anorexia and cachexia, and the potential benefit deriving from the integration of a pharmacologic and nutritional approach to cancer patients
In the period 2010-14, Dr. Laviano has been the chairman of the Educational and Clinical Practice Committee of the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN). He is currently the Coordinator of the Supervisory Board of the ESPEN project, nutritionDay. In the period 2005-2009, Dr. Laviano served as European Co-Editor of Nutrition. In the period 2011-2013, Dr. Laviano served as First Editor of British Journal of Nutrition. He is currently: Editor in Chief of Nutrition; Associate Editor of Clinical Nutrition; Associate Editor of Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle; Section Editor of Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism; and Section Editor of Elsevier’s Reference Modules. Dr. Laviano’s studies have been funded by private and public institutions, including the Italian Ministry of Scientific Research. Dr. Laviano has a total of more than 180 publications in international peer reviewed journals.
THE CRITICAL ROLE OF NUTRITION IN CANCER PATIENTS: CAN WE CHANGE OUTCOMES?
Alessandro Laviano, MD
Department of Clinical Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
Progressive wasting is a frequent complication observed in the clinical journey of cancer patients. Malnutrition is a clinically relevant syndrome in cancer since it is causally related to increased morbidity, reduced quality of life and increased mortality. Whether nutrition therapy yields to better clinical outcomes remains to be fully demonstrated by large and prospective clinical trials. Nevertheless, the available evidence suggest that nutrition therapy is key in cancer patients to maintain nutritional status and improves quality of life, at least in specific clinical settings. In fact, most of the studies addressing the role of nutrition in cancer patients included limited number of patients who were also in the very late stage of their disease. Considering that this phase of the clinical journey of cancer patients is characterized by the development of refractory cachexia, it is self-evident that the studies so far published could not fully demonstrate the clinical role of nutrition therapy. Recent experimental studies show that reduced food intake triggers a molecular response yielding to reduced anti-tumour immune response by the host and limited efficacy of immune-therapy. These studies therefore suggest that nutrition therapy in cancer patients should be used in specific clinical settings and in synergy with anti-tumour therapies. The preliminary results of the SCOPE1 study highlight the enormous potential of the synergy between nutrition and anti-cancer therapies.