(HealthDay News) — For Mexican children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), overweight and obesity are predictors of early mortality, according to a study published online July 18 in BMC Cancer.

Juan Carlos Núñez-Enríquez, M.D., from the UMAE Hospital de Pediatría in Mexico City, and colleagues conducted a multicenter cohort study involving 1,070 children younger than 15 years old with ALL who were followed during the first 24 months after diagnosis. Overweight and obesity were classified according to World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria and were examined as predictors of early mortality and early relapse.

The researchers found that overweight and obesity at diagnosis predicted early mortality (WHO: hazard ratio [HR], 1.4; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.0 to 2.0; CDC: HR, 1.6; 95 percent CI, 1.1 to 2.3). No correlations were seen for overweight (WHO: HR, 1.5; 95 percent CI, 0.9 to 2.5; CDC: HR, 1.0; 95 percent CI, 0.6 to 1.6) and obesity (WHO: HR, 1.5; 95 percent CI, 0.7 to 3.2; CDC: HR, 1.4; 95 percent CI, 0.9 to 2.3) with early relapse.

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“A closer monitoring of these children would increase their survival,” the authors write. “Importantly, further research is required for a deeper comprehension of the biological mechanisms by which overweight and obesity are involved in the association between treatment resistance and toxicity.”

Abstract/Full Text