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 Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

nachricht Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>