Molecular and physical technologies for monitoring fluid and electrolyte imbalance: A focus on cancer population

Devasier Bennet, Yasaman Khorsandian, Jody Pelusi, Amy Mirabella, Patrick Pirrotte, Frederic Zenhausern

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Several clinical examinations have shown the essential impact of monitoring (de)hydration (fluid and electrolyte imbalance) in cancer patients. There are multiple risk factors associated with (de)hydration, including aging, excessive or lack of fluid consumption in sports, alcohol consumption, hot weather, diabetes insipidus, vomiting, diarrhea, cancer, radiation, chemotherapy, and use of diuretics. Fluid and electrolyte imbalance mainly involves alterations in the levels of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium in extracellular fluids. Hyponatremia is a common condition among individuals with cancer (62% of cases), along with hypokalemia (40%), hypophosphatemia (32%), hypomagnesemia (17%), hypocalcemia (12%), and hypernatremia (1-5%). Lack of hydration and monitoring of hydration status can lead to severe complications, such as nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, seizures, cell swelling or shrinking, kidney failure, shock, coma, and even death. This article aims to review the current (de)hydration (fluid and electrolyte imbalance) monitoring technologies focusing on cancer. First, we discuss the physiological and pathophysiological implications of fluid and electrolyte imbalance in cancer patients. Second, we explore the different molecular and physical monitoring methods used to measure fluid and electrolyte imbalance and the measurement challenges in diverse populations. Hydration status is assessed in various indices; plasma, sweat, tear, saliva, urine, body mass, interstitial fluid, and skin-integration techniques have been extensively investigated. No unified (de)hydration (fluid and electrolyte imbalance) monitoring technology exists for different populations (including sports, elderly, children, and cancer). Establishing novel methods and technologies to facilitate and unify measurements of hydration status represents an excellent opportunity to develop impactful new approaches for patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere461
JournalClinical and Translational Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • biomarkers
  • biomedical sensors
  • electrolyte imbalance
  • health performance
  • hyperkalemia
  • hypocalcemia
  • hyponatremia
  • proteomics and metabolomics
  • wearables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine


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