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Hyperglycemia and Cancer: A State-of-the-Science Review

Marilyn Hammer
Susan Storey
Denise Soltow Hershey
Veronica J. Brady
Ellen Davis
Natalie Mandolfo
Ashley Leak Bryant
Jill Olausson
ONF 2019, 46(4), 459-472 DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.459-472

Problem Identification: Hyperglycemia can increase the risk for adverse events and outcomes in patients undergoing treatment for cancer. The purposes of this state-of-the-science review were to explore the complexity of hyperglycemia in patients with cancer and to analyze physiologic mechanisms and outcomes in individuals with or at risk for cancer.

Literature Search: PubMed® and the Cochrane Library databases were searched, and 95 articles were included. Findings were evaluated for their methods and analyses. Studies assessed as methodologically flawed were not included.

Data Evaluation: The synthesis of the articles provided the evidence for describing normal and glycemic pathways. Hyperglycemia in patients with cancer was explored through chronic inflammatory mechanisms that lead to increased risks for adverse events and outcomes.

Synthesis: This article discusses normal glucose regulation and hyperglycemic pathways, hyperglycemia in patients with cancer, hyperglycemia and cancer-related inflammation, and outcomes (e.g., infections, mortality, symptoms).

Implications for Research: Understanding the contributors to and consequences of hyperglycemia can guide the development of screening tools to predict which individuals are at the greatest risk for hyperglycemic episodes prior to starting cancer therapies. Research can lead to glycemic guidelines specific to patients with cancer for better outcomes.

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