Medical Oncology and Tumor Pharmacotherapy

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 189–193 | Cite as

Folate and iron metabolism in patients with tumors and inflammations

  • Peter Reizenstein
Nutritional Disturbances in Cancer Patients


Reduced serum concentrations of nutrients like iron, zinc and folates and of albumin and cholesterol are found, as well as emaciation, both in malnutrition and in cancer. In patients with leukemia, a depletion of intracellular potassium and hypo-potassemia are found in addition. The use of hyperalimentation in cancer was originally based on the concept that too little food is the cause of these disturbances in the nutrition state. However, there is also a disturbed metabolism of nutrients in patients with tumors and inflammatory disease. In the case of folic acid, the disturbed metabolism could not be normalized by hyperalimentation. The more advanced the disease, the more pronounced is the disturbed nturient metabolism, and this disturbance is related to the macrophage activity. It is not self-evident, therefore, that hyperalimentation can normalize the nutritional state in cancer. Emaciation in cancer patients is not caused exclusively by malnutrition.

Key words

Cancer Nutrition Iron Folate Potassium 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Reizenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of HematologyKarolinska Hospital and InstituteStockholmSweden

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