Although the anti-inflammatory effects of immunomodulating diets (IMDs) have recently attracted attention, the efficacy of enteral feeding of such diets after radical surgery remains controversial. Thus, we conducted a new prospective, randomized controlled study to elucidate any beneficial effect of an IMD containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and γ-linolenic acid (GLA) in patients undergoing radical esophagectomy for thoracic esophageal cancer.
From November 2009 to July 2011, 87 consecutive patients were randomized to receive either an IMD enriched with EPA, GLA, and antioxidants (n = 42) or a standard isocaloric, isonitrogenous diet (control group, n = 45) after esophagectomy with radical lymphadenectomy. The primary outcome measure was changes in the oxygenation status (PaO2/FIO2 ratio), and the secondary outcome measures were body composition, inflammation-related factors, coagulation markers, cholesterol concentrations, and major clinical outcomes.
Oxygenation was significantly better on postoperative days (PODs) 4, 6, and 8 in the IMD than control group (366.5 ± 63.3 vs. 317.3 ± 58.8, P = 0.001; 361.5 ± 52.6 vs. 314.0 ± 53.2, P < 0.001; 365.4 ± 71.2 vs. 315.2 ± 56.9, P = 0.001, respectively). Changes in the ratio of body weight on PODs 14 and 21 and lean body weight on POD 21 were significantly greater in the IMD than control group. No significant differences were observed in other measures.
An enteral IMD enriched with EPA and GLA improved oxygenation and maintained the body composition of patients undergoing radical esophagectomy, indicating the potential efficacy of such a diet after esophagectomy.