Perioperative Immunonutrition in Colorectal Cancer Patients Undergoing Abdominal Surgery

Official Title

A Translational Clinical Trial of Perioperative Immunonutrition in Colorectal Cancer Patients Undergoing Abdominal Surgery: PERIOP-02


The immune system plays an important role in helping to kill and prevent cancers. Cells of the immune system, such as natural killer (NK) cells and T cells, do not work as well following surgery. Arginine, an amino acid, is fundamental in metabolic processes of the body. Surgery has shown to cause a reduction of arginine in the body. In turn, this deficiency causes NK cell suppression. In this study, we want to look at the effects of arginine supplementation before and after surgery on NK cell function in surgery patients. In this study, we will be using a nutritional supplement containing arginine and a placebo drink (provided by Enhanced Medical Nutrition) that will be taken by colorectal cancer patients 5 days before surgery and 5 days after surgery. Using patient blood samples, we will measure NK cell levels, arginine levels and also arginase activity.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • NK cell killing as measured on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) between the control (placebo) and experimental cohorts, using a standard NK cell killing assay.
Secondary Outcome:
  • Decrease in postoperative serum arginine levels between the control (placebo) and experimental cohorts
  • Compliance with perioperative arginine supplementation

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Canadian Cancer Society

These resources are provided in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society