Understanding disease - related malnutrition: a translational approach for nutritional interventions

March 07, 2024 - 15 h 30

Bio3 Institute
15, rue du Plat d’Étain
37000 Tours


A cancer diagnosis brings with it a high risk of having poor nutritional status.  Fundamental features of malnutrition include muscle loss (atrophy) and fatty infiltration of muscle (myosteatosis) which are prevalent in people with cancer and are exacerbated during chemotherapy treatment.  Each of these features predict survival in cancer patients.  Ongoing clinical work has revealed aberrant features of muscle of patients who have cancer that suggest fundamental changes in muscle structure and function as a result of the disease and its treatment.  This work has been extended to understanding mechanisms of muscle loss and myosteatosis as well as the potential to modify these poorly prognostic features using nutritional interventions in experimental model systems.   When specific fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3; EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3; DHA) were provided to patients and in a pre-clinical model (rodents) undergoing cytotoxic treatment for cancer, both muscle loss and myosteatosis were prevented, however the reasons for this are not fully understood.   Several mechanisms are being explored by combining imaging with analysis of lipids, proteins and genes to show a clear impact of EPA and DHA on muscle condition.  Current focus of the Le Studium project is to understand the impact of chemotherapy treatment on mitochondria and subsequently the response to EPA+DHA treatment in an experimental model system.  The experimental systems are informed by human muscle evaluation, therefore increasing the confidence that the pathways being evaluated are indeed associated with muscle atrophy and myosteatosis in humans and have the potential to be restored by dietary EPA+DHA.  Utilization of model systems that “mimic” clinical practice is intended to enable rapid translation of the experimental findings to apply to clinical practice to to develop or refine therapeutics directed at muscle wasting in cancer patients.   


Dr Vera Mazurak

LE STUDIUM Visiting Researcher 

FROM: University of Alberta - CA
IN RESIDENCE AT: Niche, Nutrition, Cancer & Oxidative metabolism (N2COX) / INSERM, University of Tours - FR

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