(HealthDay News) — High prediagnosis body mass index (BMI) is associated with increased mortality after colorectal cancer diagnosis, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from April 5 to 9 in San Diego.

Peter T. Campbell, PhD, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues used the Colon Cancer Family Registry (1997 to 2008) to identify a multicenter cohort of 6,763 patients with invasive colorectal cancer.

Mortality records and patient follow-up (median 5.3 years) were used to determine vital status. Self-reports of height and weight were used to assess BMI two years before diagnosis, BMI at age 20 years, and adult weight gain.

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The researchers found that 2,335 patients died during follow-up. There was a higher risk of all-cause mortality overall for those with higher BMI 2 years before cancer diagnosis (per 5-kg/m²; hazard ratio [HR], 1.10), with similar associations seen when stratified by gender (men: HR, 1.07; women: HR, 1.11).

Microsatellite instability (MSI) status (MS-stable/MSI-low: HR, 1.08; MSI-high: HR, 1.19) was also associated with higher risk of all-cause mortality. Risk of death was lower for those with MSI-high and normal BMI (HR, 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59 to 1.00), higher for MS-stable/MSI-low and high (≥30 kg/m²) BMI (HR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.07 to 1.42), and similar for MSI-high and high BMI (HR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.72 to 1.30), compared to those with MS-stable/MSI-low and normal BMI.

“[Our data] suggest that prediagnosis BMI may be something that clinicians should consider when managing patient care,” Campbell said in a statement.


  1. Campbell PT, Newton C, Newcomb PA, et al. Abstract LB-276. Presented at: American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2014. April 5-9, 2014; San Diego.