Obesity may make ovarian cancer more aggressive
NEW YORK – Findings from a new study confirm that obesity is associated with decreased survival among women with ovarian cancer.
“A large study reported last year showed that obesity adversely affects the survival of a number of cancers, including ovarian,” senior author Dr. Andrew J. Li, from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told Reuters Health.
Li explained that his team wanted to see if this was due to the presence of other concurrent illnesses and conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, or if obesity was having a direct effect on the cancer. The current study, in the medical journal Cancer, involved 216 patients who underwent surgery for ovarian cancer at the researchers’ institution. Twenty-five percent of patients were considered overweight, having a body mass index of at least 25 but less than 30, while 16 percent were obese, having a BMI of at least 30.
As expected, diabetes and hypertension were more common among obese patients. However, even after accounting for these factors, obese women with advanced ovarian cancer still had worse survival than their counterparts with lower BMIs.
“Based on our findings, we think there is something secreted by fat tissue that affects tumor biology,” Li said. “
Li said his team is now involved in studies to shed light “on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the association between obesity and ovarian cancer survival.”