Poster Topical Area: Diet and Cancer
Poster Board Number: 191
Introduction: Head and neck (H&N) cancer patients receive multimodal therapy that is often toxic and impacts survival. Novel dietary supplementation strategies may improve clinical outcomes and ameliorate the side effects associated with therapy.
Objectives: Obtain preliminary data estimates of dietary nitrate supplement (beetroot juice (BRJ)) feasibility during chemoradiation therapy in H&N cancer patients compared to placebo (PL). Quantify changes in physical function and body composition in both research arms. Hypothesis: BRJ supplementation in H&N cancer patients will be feasible and minimize the loss of muscle mass, strength, and endurance compared to patients receiving PL.
Methods: This was a double blinded; placebo controlled pilot study. H&N cancer patients before, during, and after intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) consumed a 10 g packet BRJ powder (BEETELITE™) mixed in 4-6 oz of water daily by mouth or through a feeding tube for 14 weeks. BRJ adherence rates were assessed weekly. Blood draw and saliva samples were collected to assess nitrate (NO3)-nitrite (NO2) concentrations and body composition (DXA), strength and endurance measures were completed at baseline, midpoint, and endpoint of therapy.
Results: Of the thirteen patients enrolled, 8 withdrew (dyspepsia n=3; non-compliant n=1; other reasons n=4) and 5 completed all study measures (n=4 BRJ; n=1 PL). Hypothesis testing was not conducted due to small sample size. We only observed an increase in NO3 concentrations and NO3/NO2 ratio from both plasma and saliva samples in BRJ participants. We found that adherence to BRJ supplementation was higher in patients who consumed the supplement via enteral feeding. We observed that BRJ resulted in greater retention of lean body mass in the trunk region (baseline: 25464g vs. 24634g endpoint) compared to PL (baseline: 29356g vs. 26242g endpoint). No other differences in body composition, strength, or endurance were observed.
Conclusion: Overall, poor BRJ adherence and high dropout rate contributed to our limited sample size and study feasibility. It is possible that the observed positive changes in NO3/NO2 ratio in BRJ contributed to modest preservation of trunk LBM, however a positive impact on other body composition and physical function measures were not observed.
University of Kentucky