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Large prospective study finds long-term obesity is associated with poorer pancreatic cancer survival
Date:10/21/2013

the molecular pathways that may be responsible for the survival difference between obese and healthy-weight patients. Hopefully, in the future, that research will bring new approaches for treatment of pancreatic cancer."

Researchers evaluated the association between patients' BMI in 1986 and survival after diagnosis of pancreatic cancer among participants from two large prospective cohort studies the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Participants of those studies were surveyed on medical history, health behaviors, and lifestyle choices. The present study assessed 902 cases of pancreatic adenocarcinoma that were diagnosed during a 24-year period.

Overall, the median length of survival after diagnosis for those patients was five months. According to Dr. Wolpin, on average, healthy weight patients (BMI less than 25 kg/m2) lived 2 to 3 months longer than obese patients (BMI greater than or equal to 35 kg/m2). The association between higher prediagnostic BMI and shorter survival persisted after adjusting for differences in age, gender, race/ethnicity, smoking status, and disease stage. Obese patients were also more likely to be diagnosed with advanced disease 72% of obese patients had metastatic disease at diagnosis compared to 59% of healthy-weight patients.

The association between BMI and survival was even stronger among the 202 patients with high BMI assessed 18-20 years before diagnosis. Assuming that most people remain overweight once they gain weight, according to Dr. Wolpin, this finding suggests that being overweight for a prolonged period of time leads to worse outcomes. This study also suggests further avenues of research on the link between obesity and cancer. For example, it is not yet clear if the same changes that promote tumor development in obese people also affect the aggressiveness of the tumor. Several ongoing studies are already exploring metabolic (energy and nutrient processing) pathways
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Contact: Kate Blackburn
kate.blackburn@asco.org
571-483-1379
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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