Preoperative nutritional optimization of esophageal cancer patients

Elles Steenhagen


Optimization of the nutritional and metabolic state prior to major surgery leads to improved surgical outcomes and is increasingly seen as an important part of oncology disease management. For locally advanced esophageal cancer the treatment is multimodal, including neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy or perioperative chemotherapy in combination with esophageal resection. Patients undergoing such a multimodal treatment have a higher risk for progressive decline in their nutritional status. Preoperative malnutrition and loss of skeletal muscle mass has been reported to correlate with unfavorable outcomes in patients who undergo esophageal cancer surgery. Decline in nutritional status is most likely caused by insufficient nutritional intake, reduced physical activity, systemic inflammation and the effects of anticancer therapy. To ensure an optimal nutritional status prior to surgery, it is key to assess the nutritional status in all preoperative esophageal cancer patients, preferable early in the treatment trajectory, and to apply nutritional interventions accordingly. Nutritional management of esophageal cancer can be challenging, the optimal nutritional therapy is still under debate, and warrants more nutritional scientific research. In this review, the most recent findings regarding preoperative nutrition associated with outcomes in patients with esophageal cancer will be explored.