In women with colon cancer that has advanced beyond the early stage, obesity is associated with a poorer long-term outcome, according to a recent study. In addition to an increased risk of developing colon cancer, obese patients may have an increased risk of cancer recurrence, at least women. However, the influence of body weight on long-term outcomes and treatment-related side effects in colon cancer patients has not been well documented.
The researchers found that women, but not men, who were overweight at the start of the trial had a significant increase in overall risk of death compared with women of normal weight. Obese women were also more likely to experience cancer recurrence.
Body weight had no significant influence on overall risk of death or cancer recurrence in men.
It is noteworthy, the investigators say, that obese patients did not experience a higher rate of chemotherapy-related toxic side effects. On the contrary, they had lower rates of decreases in white blood cells and lower rates of any very serious toxicities compared with their normal-weight counterparts.