Obesity Doesn't Matter

Ovarian cancer recurrence time not affected by high BMI

(RxWiki News) It's hard to think of a disease or a condition that obesity doesn't either contribute to or aggravate. Well, researchers have found one, and one of our dailyRx contributors isn't surprised.

A woman's weight - whatever it is - does not impact the timing of ovarian cancer recurring. In fact, larger women had an advantage over the gals who didn't have a BMI score of 30 or more, according to a recent study.

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University of Michigan researchers set out to solve a mystery. They wanted to know if and how obesity affects the ovarian cancer road. Does it shorten it or not?

There has been some conflict over the question.  Some studies have suggested that excess weight abbreviates the time between remission and recurrence. 

To find out, Karina N. Hew, MD collaborated with colleagues in a retrospective (looking at the past) study analyzing the relationship between obesity and the time it takes for ovarian cancer to return, if it does reappear.

Researchers worked with 370 patients and gathered certain stats, including their height, weight at the time they had surgery, age, race and other (co-morbid) conditions they may have had. Information about the exact nature of the disease and treatment was also gathered and analyzed.  

Obesity actually was a favorable factor in terms of recurrence. Fewer obese women (BMI of 30+) had recurrences than women who weren't obese -  125 (47.9%) compared to 49 (37.7%) obese women.

How much time elapsed before a recurrence was identical in both groups - 15 months. So the researchers conclude that obesity doesn't affect how long it may take for patients with ovarian cancer to see the disease again.

Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD, professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Chicago, told dailyRx in an email, "This is a very interesting story that was carefully executed. I would have expected these results; ovarian cancer is not driven by obesity like endometrial cancer," Dr. Lengyel said.

These findings were presented at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), held June 1-5, 2011 and also published in the June 1, 2012 Journal of Clinical Oncology supplement.

No funding information was provided, and authors declared no conflicts of interest. 

Review Date: 
June 5, 2012