Premenopausal Status Associated with Weight Gain During Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Weight gain during chemotherapy is associated with premenopausal status but not patient age, tumor histology or stage, or therapeutic regimens, reported authors of a single-institution study during the 2013 Breast Cancer Symposium held in San Francisco, CA.

Previous studies have shown that breast cancer chemotherapy can be associated with increased weight, and that patient weight gain is “usually significant and may be associated with poor survival,” noted Lubna Chaudhary, MD, and coauthors from the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine and Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV.

To identify correlates of chemotherapy weight gain, the authors retrospectively analyzed mean percentage weight gain during the first year after breast cancer diagnosis in 246 patients, between September 2007 and October 2010.

Statistical analyses were performed to identify associations between weight change and patient age, tumor histology and stage, estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor/HER2/neu status, patient menopausal status, therapeutic modalities received, and recurrence-free survival (RFS).

Of these factors, only menopausal status and tumor stage were significantly associated with weight change (weight gain and weight loss, respectively), the authors reported.

The mean weight gain was 0.39% (±0.40) at 1 year after diagnosis, the coauthors reported. Only premenopausal status was significantly associated with weight gain (+1.67% vs. -0.10% for postmenopausal patients; P=0.02), the coauthors reported.

“Stage ≥ 3 was associated with significant weight loss (-1.64% for 3/4 vs. +0.85% for 0/1/2; P=0.02) and a lower RFS at 3 years and 5 years (P<0.0001),” they added. But baseline weight above the 90th percentile was not related to RFS at 3 years (P=0.19), they noted.

No other factors studied correlated with weight change. A relatively small sample size may have contributed to the absence of any treatment modality-specific associations with weight change.

“Our study using current treatment regimens did not show any significant change in percent weight with chemotherapy during the first year of breast cancer diagnosis,” they concluded. “Premenopausal status was the only factor associated with significant weight gain while stage ≥ 3 was associated with significant weight loss and lower RFS.”

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