Obesity and Prognosis
As you likely know, the San Antonio Breast Cancer meetings (the biggest breast cancer conference of the year) are currently going on. When I spoke with my husband last night, he said that the biggest news so far had been three studies looking at the association of obesity with prognosis. Two of the three reported that obese women (measured by body mass) with ER positive Stage I, II, or III cancers had a poorer prognosis than their slimmer counterparts. The third study did not uphold this finding.
There has been a lot of discussion for several years about the importance of body mass, weight control, and exercise--obviously, all connected. From my perspective, there are really two groups of women who face this concern. The first is women who were already overweight at the time of diagnosis. It may be even harder for them to lose weight as it was already their baseline. The other group is the many women who gain weight during chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy. A study released quite recently suggested that gaining weight during treatment was a poor prognostic indicator. This is really tough as we all know how hard it is to hold our weight down, let alone lose those pounds.
There aren't any secrets. It is all about fewer calories in and more calories expended. These studies may help our motivation. If you want to read all three studies, go to: www.aacr.org/page23506.aspx.
Otherwise, here is a quote and then the link to one:
Obese Women with ER-positive/HER2-negative Breast Cancer Have Poorer Survival Rates
• Obesity was associated with inferior survival in women with stage I to III breast cancer. • Women with ER-positive/HER2-negative disease had inferior outcomes. • Research is needed to identify contributing factors and develop therapeutic interventions.
SAN ANTONIO — Obesity was associated with worse overall and disease-free survival in women with operable breast cancer treated with adjuvant chemotherapy, but for the first time, researchers observed this finding in only a specific subset of patients - those with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive/HER2-negative disease.
About one third of all adults in the United States are obese, posing a major public health problem because of obesity's association with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. This study indentified a new hazard associated with obesity.
Results were presented at the 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 8- 12, 2010.
"We were surprised to find that there was no evidence that this finding played out in the other breast cancer subtypes - it's mainly a phenomenon that we seem to be seeing those with ER-positive/HER2-negative disease," said Joseph A. Sparano, M.D., professor of medicine and women's health at Albert Einstein Medical College of Medicine and associate chairman of the department of oncology at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y.