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What is the Dietetics, Nutrition and research Unit?

Since MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid opened its doors in the year 2000, the Dietetics, Nutrition and Research Unit (DNRU) has been working. At present it is dependent on the Endocrinology and Nutrition Department and every year deals with an average of 1,200 patients, all cancer patients from our hospital and other centers referred from around Spain and Europe for support care.

The unit’s main function is to provide nutritional support to patients undergoing cancer treatment whether hospitalized or as outpatients.

  • The unit offers consultations from Monday to Thursday for:
  • Nutritional assessment and support to prevent deficiencies and adaptation to cancer treatment for patients referred by the oncology department or from other hospitals
  • Nutritional guidance and assessment for patients starting cancer treatment
  • Special care for patients at higher risk of malnutrition, gastrointestinal disease, lung, head and neck tumors
  • Pre-surgical consultations for elective surgeries (ARES program) and support for patients already intervened
  • Liaising with the catering service on adequate nutritional regimes of special diets for hospitalized patients taking into account their dietary needs and treatment

The unit is part of the multidisciplinary groups providing nutritional support in the breast cancer, head and neck tumor, gastrointestinal units and in the surgical treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis.


The unit has formed a part of the Teaching Unit since 2009 and welcomes graduate students in human nutrition from Spanish and European universities under the Erasmus program and with which there are agreements signed. There are currently an average of 30 Erasmus students a year and 5 from Nutrition and Cancer residences at North American and Latin American universities. Since 2009, students of the unit have developed two doctoral theses and twelve end of course projects, in addition to three Master’s degree final projects in the last six years.

Every year the unit publishes at least two papers in leading journals. Most articles are published in collaboration with other research centers as part of their partnerships.


The unit is currently running research lines on:

  • Nutritional adequacy and radiopharmaceuticals
  • Study of the human microbioma in patients receiving immunotherapy (in collaboration with the Alberto Solis Molecular Biology Center and the Autonomous University of Madrid)
  • Obesity and breast cancer (in collaboration with MD Anderson Madrid Breast Unit)
  • Nutritional and dietary adequacy in patients undergoing cancer treatment and validation of protocol in collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston
  • Study of pancreatic cancer and links between lifestyle habits and microbioma
  • The Missing Flavor (study of alterations in taste caused by chemotherapy)

Patient nutrition is vital in achieving a good response to the treatment and a marked reduction of symptoms and risk of death. It is our intention to continue growing and maintaining our research spirit of ongoing collaboration with other units and international centers.

Dr. Pedro Robledo,  head of the Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Unit