Sarcopenia is defined as the loss of muscle mass and strength and plays an increasingly important role in the management of oncology patients. Sarcopenia is frequently mislabelled as malnutrition or cachexia. Clinicians lack a consensus definition of easy-to-use, straightforward, reliable diagnostic tools to optimally recognise sarcopenia. This review will broadly go through the current literature in order to define sarcopenia, as well as to understand its mechanisms. Helpful diagnostic tools will be discussed, which can be used to optimise the management of patients suffering from a malignant disease. This review will also illustrate how sarcopenia is an independent negative predictive and prognostic factor regarding survival and quality of life, directly impacting toxicity and efficacy of oncological treatments.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2022;16(6):274–8)