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Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia

versão impressa ISSN 1516-8484versão On-line ISSN 1806-0870

Rev. Bras. Hematol. Hemoter. vol.39 no.3 São Paulo jul./set. 2017 

Review Articles

Partnership of the Sociedade Brasileira de Oncologia Pediátrica and International Society of Pediatric Oncology to improve nutritional care for children with cancer in Brazil

Karina Viania  * 

Vicente Odone Filhoa 

Sima Fermanb 

Teresa Cristina Cardoso Fonsecac 

Vanessa da Cunha Oliveiraa 

Priscila dos Santos Maia Lemosd 

Ronald D. Barre 

Elena J. Ladasf 

aUniversidade de São Paulo (USP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil

bInstituto Nacional de Câncer (INCA), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

cUniversidade Estadual de Santa Cruz (UESC), Ilhéus, BA, Brazil

dUniversidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp), São Paulo, SP, Brazil

eMcMaster Children's Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

fColumbia University Medical Center, New York, USA


The authors present a proposal of a partnership between the Sociedade Brasileira de Oncologia Pediátrica (SOBOPE) and the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) to promote the standardization and improvement of nutritional care of kids under cancer treatment in Brazil. The results of the first meeting in Brazil as well as plans for future meetings are described.

Keywords: Nutrition; Pediatric oncology; Brazil; Low- and middle-income countries


In comparison to many low- and middle-income countries, significant advances in the treatment of childhood cancer have been obtained in Brazil. A significant number of the children receive treatment using modern protocols. Additionally, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is available in several urban centers throughout the country. With increased availability of modern treatment protocols, the need for supportive care, including nutrition, becomes an essential component in comprehensive cancer care.

A number of nutritional conditions are observed among healthy children in Brazil. Although differences are observed between regions, the prevalence of undernutrition among under 5-year-old children decreased from 37% in 1974-1975 to 7% in 2006-2007. This has been observed alongside a marked increase in the prevalence of 6- to 11-year-old overweight children - a trend that is recognized globally among many low- and middle-income countries. Other public health issues related to nutritional morbidities include vitamin A deficiency, iodine deficiency disorders, as well as anemia, which affects approximately 25% of Brazilian children.1-3

Among children with cancer, there is a paucity of evidence about nutritional challenges and their implications on the delivery of cancer care to Brazilian children. Very few studies have been published on nutrition in Brazilian children with cancer; nutritional issues have been demonstrated in this population, such as a higher prevalence of undernutrition, decreased growth rate and decreased copper and zinc levels.4-7

Objectives of the meeting

The "3rd International Society of Pediatric Oncology - Pediatric Oncology in Developing Countries (SIOP-PODC) workshop on Nutrition in Children with Cancer" was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2015. This event was organized by the Instituto de Tratamento do Câncer Infantil (ITACI) of the Instituto da Criança do Hospital das Clínicas, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo in collaboration with the Sociedade Brasileira de Oncologia Pediátrica (SOBOPE). This meeting was attended by 102 pediatric oncologists, hematologists, dietitians, nurses and other health professionals working in the field of pediatric oncology from the state capital (48%), other parts of Sao Paulo State (32%) and other regions of Brazil (20%), as well as experts in nutrition from foreign institutions.

The objective of this SIOP-PODC initiative was to get a better understanding of the regional facilitators and barriers to nutritional care of children with cancer and establish a regional infrastructure to improve both the delivery of clinical services and to advance knowledge. Specifically, the nutritional workshop in Brazil aimed to:

  1. Assess knowledge on nutritional issues and standards of practice among health professionals providing nutritional care to children with cancer across Brazil;

  2. Identify research opportunities and possible collaborations through the SIOP-PODC committee;

  3. Determine the standard of care among institutions of different levels of nutritional care; and

  4. Determine the state of the science on nutrition and pediatric oncology in Brazil.8

Outcomes and next steps

Outcomes of the meeting and next steps toward achieving the aforementioned objectives are:

  1. To develop a partnership between SIOP and SOBOPE;

  2. To expand existing projects on nutrition in children with cancer with the support of both SIOP and SOBOPE;

  3. To plan a nutrition survey of all pediatric oncology centers in Brazil through SOBOPE;

  4. To assess the relationship between nutrition and abandonment of Brazilian children with cancer;

  5. To plan the succeeding workshop in Brazil during the next SOBOPE conference with the aim of achieving better national visibility and raise awareness about nutrition.

The partnership between SIOP and SOBOPE to improve the nutrition of Brazilian children with cancer is very promising, especially as Brazil has a large number of children being treated for cancer and very few research protocols on nutrition. The scientific support of both the Brazilian and the international societies will most certainly advance research on nutrition in children with cancer in Brazil.


1 Conde WL, Monteiro CA. Nutrition transition and double burden of undernutrition and excess of weight in Brazil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100(6):1617S-22S. [ Links ]

2 Victora CG, Aquino EM, do Carmo Leal M, Monteiro CA, Barros FC, Szwarcwald CL. Maternal and child health in Brazil: progress and challenges. Lancet. 2011;377(9780):1863-76. [ Links ]

3 Ministério da Saúde (MS). PNDS 2006. Pesquisa Nacional de Demografia e Saúde da Criança e da Mulher. Brasilia: Ministério da Saúde; 2008. [ Links ]

4 Sgarbieri UR, Fisberg M, Tone LG. Nutritional assessment and serum zinc and copper concentration in leukemic children. Sao Paulo Med J. 1999;117(1):13-8. [ Links ]

5 Garófolo A, Lopez FA, Petrilli AS. High prevalence of malnutrition among patients with solid non-hematological tumors as found by using skinfold and circumference measurements. Sao Paulo Med J. 2005;123(6):277-81. [ Links ]

6 Sgarbieri UR, Fisberg M, Tone LG, Latorre M do RD. Nutritional assessment and serum zinc and copper concentration among children with acute lymphocytic leukemia: a longitudinal study. Sao Paulo Med J. 2006;124(6):316-20. [ Links ]

7 Lemos PS, de Oliveira FL, Caran EM. Nutritional status of children and adolescents at diagnosis of hematological and solid malignancies. Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2014;36(6):420-3. [ Links ]

8 Arora B, Ladas EJ. International nutrition capacity building - a global SIOP-PODC model from India. Indian J Cancer. 2015;52(2):163-6. [ Links ]

Received: August 21, 2016; Accepted: October 10, 2016

*Corresponding author at: Instituto da Criança, Hospital das Clínicas, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo (ICr/HCFMUSP), 148 Rua Galeno de Almeida, 01409-001 São Paulo, SP, Brazil. (K. Viani).

Conflicts of interest

This project is sponsored and supported by Nutricia and Josephine Garvey, Danone team and the Fundação Criança.

Creative Commons License This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivative License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited and the work is not changed in any way.