Pancreatic cancer study is RANDOMS by name, but not by nature

Although the study dietitian Belinda Steer has developed is called RANDOMS, its impact will be anything but random. The study will bring order to the issue of nutrition for pancreatic cancer patients, an aspect of treatment which people with pancreatic cancer manage themselves.

RANDOMS is being conducted as a substudy of the MASTERPLAN clinical trial, and it is funded entirely through donations made to the GI Cancer Institute by our incredible community supporters including a bequest from one very generous supporter. Belinda and her team would be unable to conduct this research if it were not for your support, and their research will bring crucial insights to this key area of need for patients.

Pancreatic cancer is associated with a high prevalence of weight loss and malnutrition. Evidence suggests that changes in body composition can affect outcomes for patients at all stages of pancreatic cancer, but little is known about the best way to measure body composition loss. Currently, CT scans are often used, but these are time consuming and not always accessible, meaning that this valuable information is not always collected as it is needed.

Belinda will lead her research team in comparing the accuracy of CT scans with another tool, the Patient Generated Subjective Global Assessment (PG-SGA). This tool is often used by dietitians to assess the presence of malnutrition, and could prove to be an efficient alternative.

“Comparing these two tools could help us to improve our assessment, and therefore our management of pancreatic cancer patients in the future. This is also an opportunity for us to collect valuable information on the nutritional status of pancreatic cancer patients as part of a wider study,” she says.

Although it is clear that body composition has a significant impact on pancreatic cancer outcomes, the best way to use this information is not yet clear. The results of this study will bring researchers one step closer to understanding and treating this disease.