BackgroundDynapenia is defined as an age-related loss of muscle strength. There is little information on dynapenia in cancer patients and on how it relates to anthropometric variables. The aim of this study was to analyze the presence of dynapenia and its association with anthropometric variables in hospitalized cancer patients.MethodsParticipants comprised adult and elderly cancer patients evaluated within the first 48 h of hospital admission to a tertiary public hospital, a referral center for gastrointestinal tract surgery. Anthropometric variables were measured according to standardized protocols. Dynapenia was identified based on handgrip strength (HGS), according to the cutoff points defined by the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP2), with values for women < 16 kg and for men < 27 kg. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS software, version 22.0, with a significance level of 5%.ResultsThis study included 158 patients aged in average 59.5 ± 14.0 years; of these, 53.6% were elderly, 58.9% non-white and 59.5% had some degree of malnutrition. The most prevalent type of cancer was that of the lower gastrointestinal tract (33.5%). The presence of dynapenia was observed in 23.4% of the patients and cachexia in 36.1%. There was an association between dynapenia with age (p < 0.001), life stage (p = 0.002) and race/color (p = 0.027), and also with body mass index (BMI) (p = 0.001) and adductor pollicis muscle thickness (APMT) of both hands (p < 0.05). After logistic regression analysis, adjusted for the sociodemographic variables, the APMT of the dominant hand and the low weight determined by body mass index remained associated with the occurrence of dynapenia (p < 0.05).ConclusionsIn this study we confirmed that dynapenia was present in cancer patients, being associated with APMT of the dominant hand and low weight. HSG was proven to be a reliable and complementary measure to be added to the process of assessing nutritional status, contributing to the nutritional diagnosis of these patients and to the detection of early muscle depletion.