A controlled, prospective, randomized trial evaluating the metabolic effects of enteral and parenteral nutrition in the cancer patient
In order to evaluate the metabolic effects of enteral versus parenteral nutritional support in the cancer patient, patients with localized, squamous cell carcinoma of the distal esophagus were randomized to one of three nutritional regimens: oral feeding, jejunal feeding, or total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Patients were initially studied in the postabsorptive state and again two weeks after beginning, and while receiving, enteral or parenteral feedings. Radioisotopic tracer methods were utilized to evaluate parameters of glucose and alanine kinetics, and arterial substrate and hormone levels were measured. Arterial plasma glucose and blood lactate levels increased and plasma free fatty acid, serum triglyceride, and serum cholesterol levels decreased to comparable levels in patients receiving jejunal feedings or TPN. Changes in serum insulin, plasma glucagon, serum cortisol, serum growth hormone, and serum thyroxine were similar in patients receiving enteral and parenteral nutrition. Enteral and parenteral nutrition also had comparable effects on both alanine and glucose kinetics. In particular, both jejunal feedings and TPN were equally efficacious in markedly suppressing gluconeogenesis in the cancer patient. Our data would support the conclusion that there are few, if any, differences in the measured metabolic effects of enteral venous parenteral nutritional support in the group of cancer patients studied.