Cancer cachexia is a complex metabolic syndrome characterized by marked loss of body weight, anorexia, asthenia, sarcopenia, and anemia. It is the most common manifestation of advanced malignant cancer, leading to death. Approximately half of all cancer patients experience cachexia and the prevalence is over 80% in terminally ill patients, with cachexia being responsible for the death of more than 20%.

Cachexia is so destructive that it uses skeletal muscle and adipose tissue as a source of energy when the body senses a lack of nutrition.

Typically, it involves extreme loss of weight and muscle mass, making routine activities difficult and increasing the risk of complications such as life-threatening infections.

This syndrome not only has a dramatic impact on patient quality of life but is also associated with poor response to treatment and lower survival rates since it adversely affects the patients’ ability to fight against infection and withstand chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

In most patients, the disease is preceded by an infectious event that triggers the immune response and triggers the acute onset of neurological symptoms manifesting as limb weakness and areflexia.

This direct link to a previous infection suggests that the driver of the autoimmunity developed in the disease is due to molecular mimicry between the antigens of the infectious agent and the peripheral nerve leading to post-infectious inflammation that enhances nerve damage or blocks nerve conduction.

It affects an estimated nine million people worldwide, including 80% of people with advanced cancer.

The company doing research in the field of this disease is Arthex.