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Obese women disadvantaged in both breast cancer treatment and diagnosis
Date:4/16/2008

Berlin, Germany: Obese women with breast cancer have worse disease outcomes and also tend to present to their doctor for the first time with more advanced disease, two scientists told the 6th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-6) today (Wednesday 16 April).

Dr. Evandro de Azambuja and colleagues at the Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels, Belgium, told the conference that his work, which involved 2887 patients, showed that women who had a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30kg/m2 had poorer outcomes in terms of disease-free and overall survival. Our data once more stress the global problem of obesity, he said.

Dr. de Azambuja and colleagues studied patients who were taking part in an international phase III trial (BIG 2-98) which compared two docetaxel regimes with two anthracycline regimes in patients with node-positive breast cancer (where the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes). Obesity was found in 19% of all patients enrolled in this trial. We found that 5-year disease-free survival in non-obese patients was significantly higher than in the obese group, he said. 75.9% of the non-obese patients were disease-free after 5 years as compared to 70% of those who were obese. In addition, the 5-year overall survival was 87.5% in the non-obese patients compared to 82.9% in the obese patients.

Reports estimate that obesity and physical inactivity account for 25-30% of the incidence of post-menopausal breast cancer, said Dr. de Azambuja.

To date, published studies have not specified the type of chemotherapy being used and therefore cannot be generalised to current practice. Studies are also inconsistent in the collection of BMI data and the time point of measurement, the cut-off points or BMI criteria, and the stage of disease, he said.

The scientists now plan to further analyse their data to look at hormonal status and co-morbidities (the effect of additional diseases the patients may have) in order to bet
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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