Author(s): Tan BH, Birdsell LA, Martin L, Baracos VE, Fearon KC
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Abstract PURPOSE: The average weight-losing pancreatic cancer patient undergoing palliative therapy is frequently overweight rather than underweight, and this can confound conventional measures used for risk stratification. The aim of this study was to evaluate if weight and body composition, specifically sarcopenia, assessed from diagnostic computed tomography (CT) scans, is of prognostic value in patients with pancreatic cancer. The nature and extent of tissue loss over subsequent months was also evaluated. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A total of 111 patients entering a palliative therapy program, who had CT images and had undergone nutritional screening, were studied. In patients for whom follow-up scans were available (n = 44), longitudinal changes in body composition were studied at a mean of 230 +/- 62 and 95 +/- 60 days prior to demise. RESULTS: Sixty-two patients (55.9\%) were sarcopenic, 44 (39.6\%) were overweight/obese, and 18 (16.2\%) were both. Age > or =59 years (hazard ratio, 1.71; 95\% confidence interval, 1.10-2.66; P = 0.018), and overweight/obese sarcopenia (hazard ratio, 2.07; 95\% confidence interval, 1.23-3.50; P = 0.006) were identified as independent predictors of survival on multivariate analysis. Longitudinal analysis revealed that total fat-free mass index decreased from 15.5 +/- 2.5 kg/m(2) to 14.5 +/- 2.0 kg/m2 (P = 0.002), and total fat mass index decreased from 7.5 +/- 2.0kg/m2 to 6.0 +/- 1.5kg/m2 (P < 0.0001) over 135 days. CONCLUSIONS: Sarcopenia in overweight/obese patients with advanced pancreatic cancer is an occult condition but can be identified using CT scans. This condition is an independent adverse prognostic indicator that should be considered for stratification of patients' entering clinical trials, systemic therapy, or support care programs.
This article was published in Clin Cancer Res
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation