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Obesity associated with longer survival for men with metastatic melanoma


Melanoma in pores and skin biopsy with H&E stain — this case might symbolize superficial spreading melanoma. Credit: Wikipedia/CC BY-SA three.zero

Obese sufferers with metastatic melanoma who’re handled with focused or immune therapies reside considerably longer than these with a traditional physique mass index (BMI), investigators report in a research revealed in Lancet Oncology of 1,918 sufferers in six unbiased medical cohorts.

This impact, known as the “Obesity Paradox”, principally manifested itself in men, stated Jennifer McQuade, M.D., lead writer and teacher of Melanoma Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Obese men consistently did much better than men with a normal BMI, with nearly a doubling of overall survival,” McQuade stated. The researchers discovered no vital variations in survival between ladies with regular, obese or overweight BMI.

“The question is what underlying mechanism causes this advantage in obese men, and can we take advantage of it to improve outcomes in patients with melanoma?” McQuade stated. “One hint may be the interaction between obesity, sex, and outcomes, which has not been detected before in any cancer.”

Women with metastatic melanoma have lengthy been recognized to have higher outcomes in comparison with men, McQuade famous. In this research weight problems overcame that survival drawback for men, main researchers to now take a look at the potential influence of intercourse hormones on this impact.

Associations do not show causation, the researcher’s notice, however level to new areas to review in higher depth.

“The public health message is not that obesity is good. Obesity is a proven risk factor for many diseases,” McQuade stated. “Even inside our inhabitants, we might not recommend that sufferers deliberately achieve weight. We want to determine what’s driving this paradox and discover ways to use this info to profit all of our sufferers.”

Obesity is a recognized danger issue for creating 13 forms of most cancers in line with the World Health Organization and is about to overhaul smoking because the main preventable explanation for most cancers. The relationship between weight problems and survival in sufferers that have already got most cancers is just not as constant. Recent research have proven an identical survival profit for with colorectal or kidney most cancers.

Obesity anticipated to be drawback

The group anticipated to seek out weight problems to be dangerous for melanoma sufferers, based mostly partially on analysis that implicates weight problems in activation of a cancer-promoting molecular pathway referred to as IGF-1/PI3K/AKT.


They analyzed the affiliation between (weight divided by peak) and progression-free survival (PFS) and general survival (OS) in six unbiased cohorts of sufferers handled with focused remedy, immunotherapy or chemotherapy in pivotal trials that led to FDA approval of those medicine.

While benefits in PFS and OS emerged in an general meta-analysis of the complete group, the survival profit associated with weight problems was restricted to men handled with focused or immunotherapies, the place overweight men had a 47 % decreased danger of dying in comparison with men with regular BMI.

Doubling of general survival in men

Results from 599 sufferers receiving mixture focused remedy of dabrafenib (BRAF inhibitor) and trametinib (MEK inhibitor) have been:

  • Normal BMI of 18.5-24.9 – median PFS of 9.6 months, OS of 19.eight months
  • Obese BMI 30 and above – median PFS 15.7 months, OS 33.zero months

A multivariable evaluation that included elements akin to age, intercourse, stage, illness burden, sure mutations and prior remedy confirmed that weight problems nonetheless improved PFS and OS in comparison with regular BMI sufferers.

The staff analyzed outcomes by intercourse and located vital variations solely amongst men.

  • Normal BMI men – PFS 7.2 months, OS 16.zero months
  • Obese men – PFS 12.eight months, OS 36.5 months.

By distinction, ladies, for instance, had general median survival of no less than 33 months, no matter BMI.

A validation cohort of 240 sufferers handled with vemurafenib (BRAF inhibitor) and cobimetinib (MEK inhibitor) yielded comparable outcomes.

For immunotherapy, in a cohort (330 sufferers) handled with checkpoint inhibitors blocking both the PD1 examine level on T cells or its PD-L1 ligand, outcomes once more confirmed no variations amongst ladies, however:

  • Normal BMI men – PFS 2.7 months, OS 14.three months
  • Obese men – PFS 7.6 months, OS 26.9 months

A cohort of sufferers handled with the immune checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab (207 sufferers) confirmed comparable outcomes. There was no impact of discovered amongst two cohorts (541 sufferers) handled solely with the chemotherapy dacarbazine.

Possible estrogen connection

The researchers are following as much as perceive organic elements which may present a bonus to overweight male sufferers. Obesity is associated with elevated irritation, which might enhance the effectiveness of checkpoint blockade medicine that unleash an immune response towards most cancers.

The sex-specificity of the noticed variations factors to a possible hormonal mediator. Fat (adipose) tissue produces an enzyme referred to as aromatase that converts male hormones referred to as androgens into estrogens, feminine hormones. Perhaps this occurs sufficient in to assist them clear some sort of hurdle towards larger survival, McQuade stated. The researchers are collaborating with investigators on the University of Pennsylvania which have discovered that turning on a really particular sort of estrogen receptor on melanoma makes it weak to immunotherapy.

The MD Anderson workforce is also taking a look at gene expression, mutations and immune profiling to determine potential variations in melanoma in overweight and non-obese and creating preclinical fashions.


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Effect of obesity on patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer



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