-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Colon cancer
patients who were obese before their diagnosis may have an
increased risk of dying from their cancer and other causes, a new
"Our data provide further evidence that maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life is very important," said study author Peter Campbell, director of the tumor repository in the American Cancer Society's epidemiology research program. "They also suggest that prediagnosis BMI may be something that clinicians should consider when managing patient care."
BMI, or body mass index, is a measurement of body fat based on
height and weight. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.
The study included more than 6,700 colon cancer patients whose
BMI two years before diagnosis was calculated based on
self-reports. The patients were followed for an average of just
over five years.
A higher BMI before diagnosis was associated with increased risk
of death from colon cancer and all other causes. The association
seen in the study does not prove a cause-and-effect
However, for every 5-point increase in BMI, there was a 7
percent higher risk of death from colon cancer and a 10 percent
higher risk of death from all causes, the researchers said.
An increased risk of death among obese patients was seen even in
those whose tumors carried an indicator that is typically
associated with better results. This indicator is called
"microsatellite instability," or MSI. Every 5-point increase in BMI
boosted the risk of all-cause death by 19 percent in patients with
MSI-high tumors and by 8 percent in those with MSI-stable/MSI-low
tumors, the study found.
The study was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the annual
meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in San
"Now that we have seen that obesity attenuates the survival advantage observed for patients with MSI-high tumors, we are looking at how it affects other tumor markers that have relevance for colorectal cancer survival," Campbell said in an association news release.
Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically
considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical
The American Cancer Society has more about
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