Malnourishment in bladder cancer and the role of immunonutrition at the time of cystectomy: an overview for urologists
- The ‘gold standard’ treatment for patients with carcinoma invading the bladder muscle is radical cystectomy (RC). Such patients are known to be at risk of malnutrition because of age and disease factors. Current evidence has established the nutritional and immunological benefits of immune-enhancing nutritional supplements in upper gastrointestinal surgery. There are currently no guidelines for immunonutrition (IM) use in urology and bladder cancer specifically.
- We carried out a systematic review of the available literature in the MEDLINE/Embase database. We assessed the rates of malnutrition in RC cohorts and analysed the clinical impacts of nutritional deficiency. The impact of immune-enhancing supplements was also investigated in RC cohorts with regard to postoperative outcomes.
- The prevalence of severe malnutrition was found to be 16–22%. There was a consistent association of malnourished patients with adverse postoperative outcomes in terms of mortality and morbidity. There is a paucity of data regarding IM in urological cohorts. Postoperative IM in RC was not found to have significant benefits beyond early return to a normal diet.
- There is not enough evidence in malnourished urological study cohorts to establish a consensus on IM. Until there are more well-controlled comparative effective studies or randomized trials, the role of IM should be considered investigational in patients with bladder cancer.