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Obesity Tied to Increased Mortality Overall in Patients With Cancer

TUESDAY, March 30, 2021 -- For patients with cancer, obesity is associated with worse overall and cancer-specific mortality, according to a review published online March 29 in JAMA Network Open.

Fausto Petrelli, M.D., from Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale Bergamo Ovest in Treviglio, Italy, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the correlation between obesity and outcomes after a cancer diagnosis. A total of 203 studies with 6,320,365 participants met the inclusion criteria for initial evaluation.

The researchers found that obesity correlated with reduced overall survival and cancer-specific survival (hazard ratios, 1.14 and 1.17, respectively). Obesity was also associated with an increased risk for recurrence (hazard ratio, 1.13). For patients with lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, or melanoma, those with obesity had better survival outcomes than patients without obesity (hazard ratios, 0.86, 0.74, and 0.74, respectively).

"These results suggest that oncologists should increase their efforts to manage patients in multidisciplinary teams for care and cure of both cancer and obesity," the authors write. "Improving lifestyle factors (e.g., physical activity, caloric intake, care and prevention of cardiovascular complications), more intensive follow-ups of cancer in patients with obesity, and adequate dose of medical therapies are all proven measures that may improve prognosis for patients with cancer and obesity."

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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