e-Poster Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2020

Nutritional status and considerations for patients diagnosed with a gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumour: Nutrition in NETs study (#389)

Erin Laing 1 2 , Nicole Kiss 3 , Michael Michael 1 , Mei Krishnasamy 1 2 4 , Karla Gough 1
  1. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  3. Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  4. Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia


Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (GEP NET) can adversely affect nutritional status. Cross-sectional studies report up to 25% of GEP NET patients are malnourished and dietary change may be prevalent. Nevertheless, clinical guidelines lack advice on nutritional management.


To describe the impact of a GEP NET on nutritional status and quality of life.

Material and Methods

People diagnosed with a GEP NET were recruited to this prospective longitudinal study on initial attendance to the NET Unit at two tertiary hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. Self-report measures (EORTC QLC-C30 and -GINET21) and nutritional outcomes (nutritional status, weight change, fat-free mass (FFM), dietary change, dietitian contact) were gathered bi-monthly for six months.


Sixty-one participants were recruited (M=62 years; 66% male). Tumour grading and primary site varied (29% NET G1, 37% NET G2, 17% NET G3; 46% small intestine, 36% pancreas).  Fatigue, abdominal discomfort and pain were common (64-80%). More participants were malnourished at baseline than 6 months later (29% versus 13%, p=0.23), yet 36% lost weight over this time; 20% lost >5% of their body weight and 44% lost FFM, with an average FFM loss of 2.8kg (95% CI=2.0, 3.6), indicating altered body composition. Dietary change was reported by 56% at baseline and 53% at 6 months. Only 21% saw a dietitian at baseline and 18% at 6 months.


Symptoms impacting on diet are common in patients with a GEP NET and clinically significant loss of weight and FFM occur over time; yet, few patients are seen by a dietitian. Valid screening practices are needed to identify weight loss and nutrition issues, and facilitate referral to dietitian services.