The prevalence of deranged C-reactive protein and albumin in patients with incurable cancer approaching death.
PLoS One. 2018;13(3):e0193693
Authors: Gray S, Axelsson B
INTRODUCTION: Amongst patients with incurable cancer approaching death, cachexia is common and associated with adverse outcomes. The term cachexia lacks a universally accepted definition and there is no consensus regarding which variables are to be measured. Furthermore, an elevated C-reactive protein is a common clinical challenge in this patient group. This study aims to add to the ongoing discussion regarding the definition of cancer cachexia and to study the role of C-reactive protein and s-albumin in this context.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A 1-year cohort, consisting of 155 cancer patients enrolled in a specialized palliative home care team in the city of Östersund, Sweden, that were deceased during the year of 2015 was studied. Laboratory measures were studied within 0-30 and 31-60 days prior to death. C-reactive protein >10 mg/L and coinciding s-albumin <30 g/L was referred to as "laboratory cachexia". Also, the number of days from the first found "laboratory cachexia" until death was noted.
RESULTS: The prevalence of "laboratory cachexia" was 85% 0-30 days prior to death compared to 66% 31-60 days prior to death (p<0.01). The majority of patients (75%) had an onset of "laboratory cachexia" within 0-120 days prior to death, with a median of 47 days. The median values for C-reactive protein and s-albumin within 0-30 days prior to death were 84mg/L and 23g/L respectively.
DISCUSSION: Could markedly deranged values of C-reactive protein and s-albumin, such as found in this study, signal a relatively short remaining survival time in patients with incurable cancer and no clinical signs of ongoing infection? The role of "laboratory cachexia" in this context as well as the cut off values for the laboratory measures included may be further discussed.
PMID: 29534089 [PubMed - in process]