Search our Database of Scientific Publications and Authors

I’m looking for a
    Taste and smell dysfunction in childhood cancer survivors.
    Appetite 2014 Apr 8;75:135-40. Epub 2014 Jan 8.
    Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children's Hospital, High Street, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia; Discipline of Paediatrics, School of Women's & Children's Health, UNSW Medicine, The University of NSW 2031, Australia. Electronic address:
    Introduction: Reduced or altered taste and smell function may occur as a side-effect of cancer therapy. This can lead to altered nutrient and energy intake. Some studies have suggested that taste and smell dysfunction can persist many years after treatment completion but this has not been previously assessed in survivors of childhood cancer. The aim of this study is to determine if taste and smell dysfunction is present in childhood cancer survivors (CCS). Food preference and Quality of Life was also assessed.

    Methods: Fifty-one child cancer survivors (mean age: 19.69±7.09years), more than five years since treatment completion, (mean: 12.4years) were recruited from the long term follow-up clinics at two Sydney-based children's hospitals. Taste function was assessed using a 25 sample taste identification test comprising five concentrations each of sweet, salty, sour and bitter tastes and water. Smell function was assessed by determining the ability of participants to identify 16 common odorants. The participants' Quality of Life was assessed using the Functional Assessment of Anorexia Cachexia scale and food preferences were assessed using a 94-item food liking tool.

    Results: Taste dysfunction was found in 27.5% of participants (n=14), and smell dysfunction in 3.9% (n=2) of participants. The prevalence of taste dysfunction was higher than that seen in the non-cancer population. The child cancer survivors' appeared to "like" the less healthy food groups such as flavoured beverages, takeaway and snacks over healthier food groups such as vegetables and salad. No correlation was found between those with a taste dysfunction and their food "likes".

    Conclusion: A high level of taste dysfunction was found in CCS though there did not appear to be an issue with smell dysfunction. Further work is also needed to assess whether a taste dysfunction do play a role in the dietary habits of CCS.

    Similar Publications

    Chemosensory function and food preferences of children with cystic fibrosis.
    Pediatr Pulmonol 2010 Aug;45(8):807-15
    School of Women and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
    A major problem for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is the maintenance of adequate nutrition to maintain normal growth. The hypotheses that poor nutrition could be due to smell and/or taste dysfunction has been pursued in several studies with contradictory results. None, however, investigated whether inadequate nutrition is due to CF patients having different liking for foods compared to healthy children and whether liking can be linked to specific changes in smell or taste function. Read More
    Taste intensity and hedonic responses to simple beverages in gastrointestinal cancer patients.
    J Pain Symptom Manage 2007 Nov 5;34(5):505-12. Epub 2007 Jul 5.
    Department of Surgical Sciences, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.
    Changes in the taste of food have been implicated as a potential cause of reduced dietary intake among cancer patients. However, data on intensity and hedonic responses to the four basic tastes in cancer are scanty and contradictory. The present study aimed at evaluating taste intensity and hedonic responses to simple beverages in 47 anorectic patients affected by gastrointestinal cancer and in 55 healthy subjects. Read More
    Taste and smell function in pediatric blood and marrow transplant patients.
    Support Care Cancer 2012 Nov 9;20(11):3019-23. Epub 2012 Aug 9.
    Centre for Children's Cancer & Blood Disorders, Sydney Children's Hospital, Sydney, Australia.
    Background: The intensive conditioning regimens of a pediatric blood and marrow transplant (BMT) can limit voluntary intake leading to a risk of malnutrition. Poor dietary intake is likely multi-factorial with a change in taste and smell function potentially being one contributing factor limiting intake, though this is not well studied. This research aimed to assess the taste and smell function of a cohort of pediatric BMT patients. Read More