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Recommendations Summary

ONC: Head and Neck Cancer: Radiation Determination of Protein Needs 2007

Click here to see the explanation of recommendation ratings (Strong, Fair, Weak, Consensus, Insufficient Evidence) and labels (Imperative or Conditional). To see more detail on the evidence from which the following recommendations were drawn, use the hyperlinks in the Supporting Evidence Section below.

  • Recommendation(s)

    ONC: Head and Neck Cancer: Determination of Protein Needs and Radiation

    The protein needs for patients with head and neck cancer undergoing radiation therapy may be higher than the RDA. Limited evidence indicates patients consuming the RDA for protein experienced a significant decrease in weight and LBM during treatment. More defined protein intervention studies are needed.

    Rating: Weak

    • Risks/Harms of Implementing This Recommendation

      Use of high protein diets may be contraindicated in patients with hepatic disease and renal disease.

    • Conditions of Application

      There are no conditions that may limit the application of this recommendation.

    • Potential Costs Associated with Application

      There are no obvious costs associated with the application of this recommendation.

    • Recommendation Narrative

      • One positive quality time-series study (Ng et al, 2004) assessed the impact of protein intake on weight and body composition in 38 head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.
        • It appears that higher than RDA intake is needed to prevent loss of FFM.
        • This study did not assess impact of protein intake on nitrogen balance or protein turnover thus it is difficult to interpret the results in terms of the RDA for protein.
      • More research is needed to identify more defined recommendations for actual grams of protein required. 

    • Recommendation Strength Rationale

      • Based on one positive quality time-series study, conclusion statement is a Grade III.