According to new findings presented today at the ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer in Barcelona, Spain, researchers from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, have found that thin patients with colorectal cancer have shorter survival than obese patients.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 6,128 patients who had been treated for untreated metastatic colorectal cancer. All patients received bevacizumab plus chemotherapy.
Researchers found that patients with a body mass index (BMI) between 20 and 24.9 survived a mean of 21.1 after treatment initiation compared with 23.5 months for those with a BMI of 25 to 29 and 24 months for those with a BMI of 30 to 35.
"Contrary to our hypothesis, patients who had the lowest BMI were at risk for having the shortest survival," said lead author Yousuf Zafar, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Duke University. "In this case, patients with the lowest body weight—people who had metastatic colon cancer and a BMI of less than 25—were at the highest risk."
The findings do not mean that being overweight is protective for patients with colorectal cancer undergoing treatment, but rather there could be an underlying mechanism that put thinner patients at an increased risk for poor outcomes.
A Duke Medicine study found that that thinner Stage 4 colorectal cancer patients lived an average of two-and-a-half months less than obese patients.