PHILSPEN Online Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

Home | Back to Articles/Publication Page


Full Article #6 (PDF)

Title: Nutritional status of patients with malignancy of the gastrointestinal tract and other malignancies – comparison of characteristics and pattern: a two year study in a private tertiary care hospital in the Philippines (years 2003-2004) / PDF-PD_6

Published in Philippine Journal of Oncology 2007 December; volume 8: pages 37-44.

Author: Roel Tolentino (1), Olive Quizon (2), Luisito Llido (2)

Institution where research was done:

  • (1) Cancer Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City, Philippines,
  • (2) Clinical Nutrition Services, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City, Philippines


Background and Aims: Nutritional status and weight loss patterns have not been closely documented in malignancy of the gastrointestinal tract as well as the rest of the malignancies in the Philippines or for the Asia Pacific region. It is the aim of the study to determine whether patients with gastrointestinal tract (GI) malignancies have poorer nutritional status compared to non-gastrointestinal tract (Non-GI) malignancies and to analyze the magnitude and pattern of weight loss and BMI class change from the start to latest admission for a period of two years (2003 and 2004).

Methodology: All cancer patients admitted in St. Luke’s Medical Center from 2003 to 2004 were collected. Their admission weight in kilograms, height in meters, and computed Body Mass Index (BMI) were recorded. Total number of days follow up was also recorded. Nutritional status was based on the BMI classification by the World Health Organization, which are: normal (BMI between 18.5 and 25), underweight (BMI < 18.5), overweight (BMI between 25.1 and 30), and obese (BMI >30). Statistical analyses used were paired and independent samples t-test for ordinal data and chi-square for nominal data.

Results: 599 patients were collected (GI = 150, Non-GI = 449) and sex distribution was for GI (males: 57.4%, females: 42.6%) and Non-GI (males: 36.7%, females: 63.3%). Follow up days range was from 6 to 467 days and similar in both groups. There was a significant number of patients with Normal BMI in the GI group compared to the non-GI (61.3% vs. 53.3%) while the rest of the BMI class comparisons were not significant. These are: underweight (6 to 9%), overweight (22 to 26%), and obese (10.7 to 11.5%). Weight loss in all malignancies was significant at 1.3 kg (p<0.001) and in GI malignancies at 1.74 kg (p = 0.001) and in Non-GI at 1.17 kg (p = 0.002). No difference was noted comparing GI vs. Non-GI rate of weight loss (GI weight loss rate = 0.115 kg/week; Non-GI weight loss rate = 0.099 kg/week). In the GI group weight loss was greatest in the stomach (rate of weight loss = 0.36 kg/week), followed by esophagus (rate of weight loss = 0.33 kg/week), and gallbladder (rate of weight loss = 0.31 kg/week). However more patients with GI malignancies converted to a lower BMI class especially the normal to underweight BMI (GI: 8% vs. Non-GI: 2%, p<0.05) in the colon (17.7%), stomach (18%), liver (1%), pancreas (1%), esophagus (1%), and ampulla of Vater (1%).

Conclusion: BMI class change from normal to underweight was greater in the GI compared to the Non-GI malignancies. Significant weight loss was noted in both types of malignancies, but not when compared against each other. The rate of weight loss was also similar in both types of malignancies.