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Adult patients with an esophageal cancer can potentially be compromised with postoperative leaks or fistulae if patients' nutritional status is in a vulnerable stage. Currently in Australia, there is a growing need for clinicians to know whether use of immune-enhancing formulas (IEFs) containing Arg, omega-3, and RNA are a cost-effective approach compared with isonitrogenous-isocaloric formulas to reduce postoperative infectious complications in esophagectomy patients. Since IEFs may carry higher costs, this has led to inconsistencies in practice among clinicians and hospitals.
Our aim is to compile and present the most up-to-date nutrition evidence available regarding the provision of IEFs containing Arg, omega-3, and RNA to help clinicians develop an evidence-based nutrition care plan; identify available evidence of whether an esophagectomy patient should receive IEF; determine the cost-effectiveness and safety of such nutrition; and determine appropriate administration quantity and timing (pre-, peri-, or postesophagectomy).
This review will include RCTs involving the use of IEFs enriched with Arg, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and RNA in the pre-, peri-, or postoperative period (for at least 5-7 days) given orally or via enteral feeding tube, in adult cancer patients undergoing esophageal resection. Lower gastrointestinal, gastric, or head cancer surgery with parenteral nutrition or non-IEF or use of isolated immunonutrient (Arg vs omega-3 vs RNA) will be excluded. Primary outcome comprises postoperative infectious complications. Secondary outcomes (pre/postoperatively) consist of cost-effectiveness, length of stay, survival/mortality, quality of life, nutritional status, percentage of weight loss, and biochemical changes. The risk of bias will be independently assessed by the reviewers, using a domain-based evaluation tool. Blinding will be assessed for subjective and objective outcome measures. Publication bias will be visually assessed by funnel plots. A meta-analysis will be generated by the Review Manager 5.3 software and represented in forest plots.
The first results are expected in 2018. Outlining the protocol will ensure transparency for the completed review.
This protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis will enable a comprehensive appraisal of the literature to help determine whether overall institutional savings are associated with this approach. Findings will form a knowledge base relevant to stakeholders across the health system and researchers who are involved in decision making on evidence-based nutrition care plan pathways for patients undergoing esophagectomy, as well as the use of IEF, timing, and administration quantity.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO Registration Number: CRD42017056908; http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/ display_record.asp? ID=CRD42017056908 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6rLyeqaD6).
This document has been peer reviewed.