Colorectal Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

ACG 2019: Does Body Weight Impact Colorectal Cancer Survival?

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019

Both obesity and being underweight appear to be associated with poor long-term outcomes in patients with colorectal cancer compared with patients at a normal weight, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis. These study findings were presented at the 2019 American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio (Oral Abstract 72).

“Subjects with obesity had similar odds of survival and mortality compared with underweight subjects, who typically represent a subset with cachexia and more advanced disease,” explained study author Vita Jaspan, BA, of the New York University School of Medicine, in an ACG press release. “Thus, it is paramount to counsel colorectal cancer survivors to maintain healthy weight and waist circumference.”

The systematic review of electronic databases identified 251,347 patients with stage I to III colorectal cancer from 17 studies. Subjects were followed for a period of 2.5 to 15 years.

Both obesity and being underweight were associated with a 30% increase in colorectal cancer mortality and a 20% increase in overall mortality compared with patients with a normal body mass index or waist circumference. However, underweight patients were less likely to have colorectal cancer recurrence than obese patients. High waist circumference was also associated with increased mortality from colorectal cancer compared with normal waist circumference.

“This makes weight one of the few variables that patients can modify to decrease the risk of cancer recurrence and the risk of dying from colorectal cancer,” concluded Ms. Jaspan. “Clinicians now have additional evidence to support recommending weight loss to obese patients.”

Disclosure: The author reported no conflicts of interest.

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