Vickie Baracos

Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Oncology Dept


Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Oncology Dept
(780) 432-8232
5055 Cross Cancer Institute
11560 University Avenue
Edmonton AB
T6G 1Z2


Area of Study / Keywords

cancer body composition nutrition


My research on the physiology and pathology of cancer-associated wasting of skeletal muscle spans more than 30 years. Key invited reviews and commentary (i.e. Annual Rev Med 2010, Nature Reviews Clin Oncol 2013; 10(2):90-9; J Clinical Oncol 2013; 31(10):1257-8) outline my understanding of the pathophysiology of cachexia and muscle wasting. I was the senior author of the international consensus framework for definition of cancer cachexia (Lancet Oncology 2011; 12:489-95).


I have made numerous contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms of cancer-associated cachexia and muscle wasting using standardized animal models. One area of research is the role of cytokines on protein metabolism in skeletal muscle (Baracos, VE et al. 1983, New England J. Med. 508:553-558). Inflammation-dependant muscle wasting (i.e. Mackenzie ML et al. Am J Physiol 2005, 289:E 527-E533; Braun T et al. 2011 J Exptl. Med.208:2449-63) is an important link in the central and peripheral control of muscle wasting in infection, cancer and injury. The role of specific degradative system(s) in different instances of muscle wasting included the identification of a cytokine-induced catabolic pathway (Kwak et al. 2004; Cancer Res. 64:8193-8). A potential therapy, selumetinib, is a MEK kinase inhibitor causing strong systemic suppression of interleukin 6 in patients with cholangiocarcinoma, and this agent caused a rapid muscle anabolism in 80% of treated individuals (Prado et al. Br J Cancer 2012 106(10):1583-6) 

 My clinical research is focused on the underlying causes of muscle wasting in cancer patients: the role of tumor progression (Lieffers JR, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 89:1173-9), of specific drugs used in cancer therapy such as sorafenib (Antoun S et al. J Clin Oncol, 2010; 28:1054-60) and of a putative muscle proteolysis-inducing factor (Wieland BM et al Clin Cancer Res. 2007; 13: 4984-92). A significant zone of current research activity concerns measurement of cancer-related muscle wasting using computed tomography. We established crucial capacity to exploit CT images taken for cancer diagnosis and follow-up, to extract data on skeletal muscle loss.  Severe muscle depletion (sarcopenia) is independently prognostic for overall survival (Prado CM et al. Lancet Oncol. 2008; 9:629-35; Martin et al. J Clin Oncol 2013, 31(12):1539-47). Furthermore, sarcopenic cancer patients are susceptible to excess toxicity during chemotherapy treatment (Prado CM et al Clin Cancer Res. 2007; 13(11):3264-8 and 2009:15:2920-6), necessitating dose reductions or treatment delays that ultimately may reduce the efficacy of their treatment. 

 I am PI of a major organized effort to develop clinical cachexia research (Cachexia-Network) to provide synergy in (i) knowledge generation (ii) knowledge synthesis across the larger body of research findings, (iii) dissemination of findings to specific target groups, (iv) engagement strategies to relevant clinical practice communities and scientific communities and (v) training a new cadre of researchers.

Featured Publications

Martin L., Tom M., Basualdo-Hammond C., Baracos V., Gramlich L.

JOURNAL OF PARENTERAL AND ENTERAL NUTRITION. 2022 August; 46 (6):1317-1325 10.1002/jpen.2348

Arribas L., Sabaté-Llobera A., Domingo M.C., Taberna M., Sospedra M., Martin L., González-Tampán A.R., Pallarés N., Mesía R., Baracos V.E.

CLINICAL NUTRITION. 2022 May; 41 (5):1059-1065 10.1016/j.clnu.2022.03.016

Boshier P.R., Klevebro F., Schmidt A., Han S., Jenq W., Puccetti F., Seesing M.F.J., Baracos V.E., Low D.E.

ANNALS OF SURGICAL ONCOLOGY. 2022 May; 29 (9):5689-5697 10.1245/s10434-022-11754-3

Amano K., Hopkinson J., Baracos V.

CURRENT OPINION IN CLINICAL NUTRITION AND METABOLIC CARE. 2022 May; 25 (3):167-172 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000815

Ebadi M., Dunichand-Hoedl A.R., Rider E., Kneteman N.M., Shapiro J., Bigam D., Dajani K., Mazurak V.C., Baracos V.E., Montano-Loza A.J.

JHEP Reports. 2022 April; 4 (7):100495 10.1016/j.jhepr.2022.100495

Ebadi M., Tsien C., Bhanji R.A., Dunichand-Hoedl A.R., Rider E., Motamedrad M., Mazurak V.C., Baracos V., Montano-Loza A.J.

Cells. 2022 April; 11 (7):1216 10.3390/cells11071216

Badri P., Baracos V., Ganatra S., Lai H., Samim F., Amin M.

PLoS One. 2022 April; 17 (4 April):e0266558 10.1371/journal.pone.0266558

Ebadi M., Tsien C., Bhanji R.A., Dunichand-Hoedl A.R., Rider E., Motamedrad M., Mazurak V.C., Baracos V., Montano-Loza A.J.

Cells. 2022 April; 11 (8):1345 10.3390/cells11081345

Martin L., Tom M., Basualdo-Hammond C., Baracos V., Gramlich L.

JOURNAL OF PARENTERAL AND ENTERAL NUTRITION. 2022 March; 46 (6):1317-1325 10.1002/jpen.2348

Badri P., Lai H., Ganatra S., Baracos V., Amin M.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022 January; 19 (3):1297 10.3390/ijerph19031297

Bhullar A.S., Rivas-Serna I.M., Anoveros-Barrera A., Dunichand-Hoedl A., Bigam D., Khadaroo R.G., McMullen T., Bathe O., Putman C.T., Baracos V., Clandinin M.T., Mazurak V.C.

Scientific Reports. 2021 November; 11 (1):23006 10.1038/s41598-021-02269-0

Youn S., Jogiat U., Baracos V.E., McCall M., Eurich D.T., Sawyer M.B.

Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. 2021 October; 45 10.1016/j.clnesp.2021.06.029

Martin L., Muscaritoli M., Bourdel-Marchasson I., Kubrak C., Laird B., Gagnon B., Chasen M., Gioulbasanis I., Wallengren O., Voss A.C., Goldwasser F., Jagoe R.T., Deans C., Bozzetti F., Strasser F., Thoresen L., Kazemi S., Baracos V., Senesse P.

Journal of Cachexia Sarcopenia and Muscle. 2021 October; 12 (5):1189-1202 10.1002/jcsm.12756

Arends J., Roeland E.J., Baracos V.E.

ANNALS OF ONCOLOGY. 2021 August; 32 (8):954-956 10.1016/j.annonc.2021.06.020

Breuillard C., Moinard C., Goron A., Neveux N., De Reviers A., Mazurak V.C., Cynober L., Baracos V.E.

CLINICAL NUTRITION. 2021 July; 40 (7):4560-4568 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.05.035

van Dijk D.P.J., Zhao J., Kemter K., Baracos V.E., Dejong C.H.C., Rensen S.S., Olde Damink S.W.M.

Journal of Cachexia Sarcopenia and Muscle. 2021 June; 12 (4):983-992 10.1002/jcsm.12723

Muscaritoli M., Arends J., Bachmann P., Baracos V., Barthelemy N., Bertz H., Bozzetti F., Hütterer E., Isenring E., Kaasa S., Krznaric Z., Laird B., Larsson M., Laviano A., Mühlebach S., Oldervoll L., Ravasco P., Solheim T.S., Strasser F., de van der Schueren M., Preiser J.C., Bischoff S.C.

CLINICAL NUTRITION. 2021 May; 40 (5):2898-2913 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.02.005

Roeland E.J., Phull H., Hagmann C., Sera C., Dullea A.D., El-Jawahri A., Nelson S., Gallivan A., Ma J.D., Nipp R.D., Baracos V.E.

SUPPORTIVE CARE IN CANCER. 2021 May; 29 (5):2771-2775 10.1007/s00520-020-05730-4

Salinas-Miranda E., Deniffel D., Dong X., Healy G.M., Khalvati F., O’Kane G.M., Knox J., Bathe O.F., Baracos V.E., Gallinger S., Haider M.A.

EUROPEAN RADIOLOGY. 2021 May; 10.1007/s00330-021-07899-6