"This study is the first to identify weight as an independent factor in ovarian cancer in disease progression and overall survival, suggesting that there is an element in the fat tissue itself that influences the outcome of this disease in obese women," said Andrew Li, M.D., the study's principal investigator at Cedars-Sinai's Women's Cancer Research Institute at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
In this study, Li and his colleagues examined data from 216 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer to identify relationships between obesity, ovarian cancer, tumour biology and outcome. Comparison of the obese women (35 of 216) to ideal-weight women (108 of 216) showed 29 percent of the obese women and 10 percent of normal-weight women had localized disease. However, obesity was shown to have a significant effect on both the recurrence and mortality of women with advanced disease. The cellular characteristics of the tumours found in the two groups also appeared to be different.
"While further molecular studies are warranted, our study suggests that fat tissue excretes a hormone or protein that causes ovarian cancer cells to grow more aggressively," said Li, who is also a physician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "The next steps will be to examine this relationship more closely, and to determine the exact biological mechanisms that influence tumour growth in ovarian cancer."
Obesity is a growing health concern. Recently linked to many types of cancer, obesity has already been linked to several serious medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and asthma. Studies have shown that a person who is 40 percent overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely compared to an average-weight person.
MEDICA.de; Source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center