Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

M. D. Anderson study finds strong relationship between high body mass index, pancreatic cancer

25.06.2009
Early age of excess weight associated with younger age of diagnosis; obesity before diagnosis linked to poor outcome

In reviewing the weight history of pancreatic cancer patients across their life spans, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have determined that a high body mass index in early adulthood may play a significant role in an individual developing the disease at an earlier age.

The study, published in the June 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, also found that patients who are obese the year before diagnosis have a poorer outcome than those who are not.

While excess weight is a known risk factor associated with pancreatic cancer, before now, few studies have looked at patients' body mass index (BMI) throughout their lifetime rather than simply at adulthood and/or year of disease diagnosis.

"This is the first study to explore at which ages excess body weight predisposes an individual to pancreatic cancer," said Donghui Li, Ph.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and the study's corresponding author. "With our epidemiological research, we aimed to demonstrate the relationship between BMI and risk of pancreatic cancer across a patient's life span and determine if there was a time period that specifically predisposes an individual to the disease, as well as the link between BMI and cancer occurrence and overall survival of the disease."

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women in this country. It is a highly lethal disease - according to the American Cancer Society, more than 42,470 persons will be diagnosed and 35,240 will likely die from the disease in 2009. The median survival for patients with the disease is less than 10 months and the five-year survival rate is less than five percent.

Obesity and smoking are the major modifiable risk factors associated with the disease; it's estimated that 25 percent of the pancreatic cancer cases are associated with the former and 27 percent with the latter, said Li. While the number of adults smoking is on the decline, the number of adults dangerously overweight is on the rise. In the U.S., obesity in adults has increased by 60 percent in the last 20 years, and is considered an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control.

"With our study, we hoped to better understand the cause-and-effect relationship between this modifiable risk factor that contributes to the development of pancreatic cancer, in hopes that high-risk individuals can be identified and preventive measures discovered for this lethal disease," said Li.

For the case-control study, the researchers enrolled 1,595 individuals - 841 pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients treated at M. D. Anderson for their disease between 2004 and 2008, compared to 754 cancer-free individuals, all companions of M. D. Anderson patients. The groups were matched by age, race and sex. Using a detailed questionnaire, personal interviews were conducted to collect such information as their: smoking history; family history of cancer; alcohol use and general medical history. Participants also were asked to recall their height and body weights at ages 14-19; 20s; 30s; 40s; 50s; 60s; 70s; and the year prior to pancreatic cancer diagnosis or enrollment in the study.

Participants' BMI were then calculated at each age period and then classified by World Health Organization guidelines as either normal, overweight (greater than or equal to a score of 25, but less than 30) or obese (30 or greater). The researchers then compared the prevalence of overweight and obesity between both the patients and the controls. Among the cancer patients, they also compared the mean or median age of pancreatic cancer diagnosis and the overall survival time between those that were of normal weight, overweight and obese,.

While the research reconfirmed an association with obesity and pancreatic cancer, the study also found an association that excess at younger ages had a stronger association with increased risk of pancreatic cancer than subsequent increases in BMI. For example, individuals overweight at 14-19 and/or in their 30s had a 60 percent increased risk of the disease. Those obese at age 20s-40s were found to have a 2-3 times higher risk of pancreatic cancer. The risk of developing the disease appeared to level off for those that gained excess weight in their 40s; and after age of 50, the risk for the disease was not statistically significant.

Another major finding was the association between excess weight and earlier onset of pancreatic cancer. The study found a median age at diagnosis of 64 for those at normal weight, compared to 61 and 59 for overweight and obese patients respectively.

"This is one of the most surprising findings," said Li "On average, overweight pancreatic cancer patients were diagnosed two to three years earlier, and obese patients were diagnosed five to six years earlier, which underscores the impact of obesity on loss of life - especially in productive years."

The researchers also found that obesity later in life, especially within a year prior to a patient's cancer diagnosis, was associated with a reduced overall survival time. For example, said Li, in the study population, patients with a healthy body weight had an average survival time of 18 months, compared to 13 months for both overweight and obese patients.

"As we see obesity dangerously on the rise in the country, this study has true public health implications. Like smoking, obesity is a modifiable risk factor," said James Abbruzzese, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and the last author on the study. "Our study suggests that weight control at a younger age should be the primary preventive strategy to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer."

The study may even have clinical implications, especially in regard to poor survival and obesity the year before diagnosis, as this association could affect pancreatic cancer clinical trial stratification in the future, explained Abbruzzese.

As future research, the researchers plan to further investigate the link between obesity, pancreatic cancer and poor outcome, looking at insulin resistance as a possible mechanism. Li and her team will also research what factors - genetic, dietary or others - modify the risk between excess body weight and the disease, in hopes of one day developing preventive strategies and discovering biomarkers for early detection of the disease.

In addition to Li and Abbruzzese, M. D. Anderson authors on the study include: Manal Hassan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology; Melissa Bondy, Ph.D.; professor in the Department of Epidemiology; and Jeffrey S. Morris, Ph.D., associate professor, and Jun Liu, M.S., statistical analyst, both in the Department of Biostatistics. R. Sue Day, Ph.D., of The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston also contributed to the study.

About M. D. Anderson

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. M. D. Anderson is one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For four of the past six years, including 2008, M. D. Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in "America's Best Hospitals," a survey published annually in U.S. News & World Report.

Scott Merville | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mdanderson.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>