(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Women who experience a significant weight change following a diagnosis with breast cancer, and who also have comorbidities, experience poor survival, according to a team of US-based researchers. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Weight Change and Survival after Breast Cancer in the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project,” which was published in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

In this study, the investigators aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between weight change after a breast cancer diagnosis and the length of survival. To meet their aim, they conducted a retrospective analysis of data of 12,915 women diagnosed with stage I-III breast cancer in China and United States between 1990 and 2006.

For the entire patient population in this study, the mean weight change was 1.6 kg, with 14.7% of the population losing, and 34.7% gaining, weight. Women who had stable weight in the early years postdiagnosis had the lowest overall mortality risk, whereas “a weight loss ≥10% was related to a 40% increased risk of death (HR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.14–1.75) in the United States and over 3 times the risk of death (HR, 3.25; 95% CI: 2.24–4.73) in Shanghai.” The investigators also reported a lower survival was seen for US-based women who lost weight and had comorbid conditions.  

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Based on these findings, the investigators concluded that “prevention of excessive weight gain is a valid public health goal for breast cancer survivors, especially for women with comorbid conditions who may be particularly at risk of weight loss and mortality.”