TAMPA, Fla.—Contrary to previous studies linking inferior outcomes in patients with gastrointestinal malignancies to higher body mass index (BMI), researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa, have found that in their study of BMI and negative outcomes, there was no such link. They concluded that BMI was not associated with either surgical complications or esophageal cancer patient survival.
Their study was published in the current online issue of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, published by the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.
“The incidence of esophageal cancer in North America is rising," said study co-author Kenneth L. Meredith, MD, assistant member at Moffitt and chief of the Esophagogastric Oncology Section. “Corresponding to that rise, there has been a dramatic rise in overweight and obese people as defined by the World Health Organization’s guidelines indicating those having a BMI of 25 to 29.9 as being overweight and those who are obese as having a BMI of over 30."
According to the researchers, the increase in obesity and the increase in esophageal cancer has been linked, as has obesity been similarly linked with other kinds of cancers. Obesity is recognized as a risk factor for esophageal cancer. What remains in question, however, is whether a high BMI affects post-surgical complications and overall survival among esophageal cancer patients who have been treated with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.