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Chemosensory Changes from Cancer Treatment and Their Effects on Patients’ Food Behavior: A Scoping Review

1
Food Science Department, College of Natural Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
2
Monell Chemical Senses Center, 3500 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
3
The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland, Woolloongabba, Queensland 4102, Australia
4
Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Melbourne 3000, Australia
5
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3053, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2285; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102285
Received: 28 August 2019 / Revised: 18 September 2019 / Accepted: 18 September 2019 / Published: 24 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Cancer: From Prevention to Survivorship)
Individuals undergoing treatment for cancer can experience changes in taste or smell that are often assumed to affect constructs related to food behavior, although this relationship is rarely measured directly. To ascertain the extent to which measured changes in taste and smell during and after cancer treatment affect food behavior, we conducted a scoping review and completed a comparative analysis for studies that met our criteria, which were: they directly measured cancer patients’ (a) psychophysical response to taste and/or olfactory stimuli, and (b) food behavior (including food enjoyment, food preference, dietary intake) in people affected by cancer. Eleven studies met these criteria and were included in the review. All 11 studies evaluated taste and five also measured smell. A comparative analysis exploring taste and food behavior shows that a reduced sweet taste function (decreased sensitivity) was associated with a reduced intake of a variety of different macro and micro nutrients, reduced appetite, and overall lower energy intake. One out of six studies that measured smell and food measured observed changes in olfactory function following cancer treatment. There were no significant relationships reported between olfactory measures and food behavior. Taste changes that arise from cancer treatment appear to have a direct effect on food behavior, although there is a need for more research using standardized measures and larger sample sizes. A better understanding of taste alterations and their implications for dietary intake and food enjoyment will support optimal nutritional health by identifying strategies to help patients eat well during and after cancer treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: chemotherapy; chemosensory loss; dysgeusia; chemosensory dysfunction; chemosensory perception; flavor; taste; smell; appetite; oncology; dietician chemotherapy; chemosensory loss; dysgeusia; chemosensory dysfunction; chemosensory perception; flavor; taste; smell; appetite; oncology; dietician
MDPI and ACS Style

Nolden, A.A.; Hwang, L.-D.; Boltong, A.; Reed, D.R. Chemosensory Changes from Cancer Treatment and Their Effects on Patients’ Food Behavior: A Scoping Review. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2285.

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