Anamorelin hydrochloride is an orally active ghrelin receptor agonist in development by Helsinn, for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cachexia. In preclinical and clinical studies, the potent affinity of anamorelin for the ghrelin receptor is associated with significant appetite-enhancing activity and resultant improvements in body weight, lean body mass, and handgrip strength compared with placebo. The accompanying stimulatory effects on growth hormone and IGF-1 are not associated with tumor growth, and overall survival in patients with cancer is not compromised. Anamorelin is well tolerated with no dose-limiting toxicities identified to date. The findings of ongoing Phase III studies are needed to confirm the significant potential of anamorelin to treat NSCLC cachexia. �� 2014 Future Medicine Ltd.