Obesity increases health risks for many things. Researchers wanted to know the impact of obesity on outcomes of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. In the September issue of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer's journal, the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO), researchers conclude that obese patients had superior outcomes early on in the study, but then experienced increased hazards.
During the period from 1993 to 2004, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group enrolled 2684 patients to three phase III trials of first-line systemic chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC. At a median follow-up of 64.9 months, 2585 of the patients were declared eligible and included in this research. The patients had their body mass index (BMI) calculated. Consistent with the general population, 4.6 percent of patients were underweight, 44.1 percent were normal weight, 34.3 percent of patients were classified as overweight, and 16.9 percent were obese.
The median overall survival estimated among underweight patients was 7.0 months, among normal weight patients was 8.6 months, among overweight patients was 9.3 months and among obese patients was 11.0 months.
In multivariable models, obese patients had significantly different overall survival when compared with normal-weight and overweight patients; however, their risk of death from any cause increased dramatically once they had been on study longer than 16 months.
Researchers says, "this indicates that the protective effect of obesity in lung cancer patients is for a limited time, after which the ultimate impact of obesity on survival from all causes supersedes."