Colorectal Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Is Body Composition Linked to Risk of Cardiovascular Events in Colorectal Cancer Survivors?

By: Sylvia O'Regan
Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2019

The amount of fat stored within the abdomen and abdominal muscles may be linked to major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with colorectal cancer, according to a population-based cohort study by Justin C. Brown, PhD, of Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and colleagues, published in JAMA Oncology. The results further suggested that body mass index—measured as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared—was not associated with such events and may have limited use for assessing cardiovascular risk in these patients.

Relying on data from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California cancer registry, the investigators focused on 2,839 patients (1,384 men and 1,455 women) with stage I to III colorectal cancer who had been diagnosed between 2006 and 2011. More than half of the patients had hypertension, nearly half had hyperlipidemia, and about 20% had type 2 diabetes.

The results showed that the cumulative incidence of cardiovascular events up to 10 years after diagnosis of colorectal cancer was 19.1%. Visceral adipose tissue area and muscle radiodensity were found to be associated with major adverse cardiovascular events, whereas body mass index was not. 

“Because patients with colorectal cancer are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than the general population, physicians may wish to refine cardiovascular risk management by integrating quantitative measures of body composition that can be derived automatically from [computed tomography] scans that are routinely obtained during colorectal cancer diagnosis,” the investigators said.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at

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