10:26pm Sunday 13 October 2019

Certain Treatments for Childhood Cancer May Increase Obesity Risk Later in Life

Previous research has shown that obesity rates are elevated in childhood cancer survivors who were exposed to cranial radiation, which is used to prevent or delay the spread of cancer to the brain. A team led by Carmen Wilson, PhD and Kirsten Ness, PhD, of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, designed a study to estimate the prevalence of obesity among childhood cancer survivors and to identify the clinical and treatment-related risks for obesity in these individuals. The study also looked for potential genetic factors that might play a role.

The study included 1,996 survivors previously treated for cancer at St. Jude who had been diagnosed with cancer at least 10 years ago. The researchers found that 47 percent of survivors who had received cranial radiation were obese, compared with 29.4 percent of survivors who had not received cranial radiation. The likelihood of obesity increased among survivors treated with cranial radiation who had also received glucocorticoids, or who were younger at the time of diagnosis. Also, certain variants in genes involved with neurons’ growth, repair, and connectivity were linked with obesity among survivors treated with cranial radiation. Survivors who had been treated with chest, abdominal, or pelvic radiation were half as likely to be obese as those who did not receive these treatments.

Dr. Wilson noted that the findings may help identify cancer survivors who are most likely to become obese, and could provide a foundation for future research efforts aimed at characterizing molecular pathways involved in the link between childhood cancer treatment and obesity. “Also, the ability to identify patients at increased risk may guide selection of therapeutic protocols that will maximize treatment outcomes while simultaneously minimizing the risk of long-term complications among children diagnosed with cancer,” said Dr. Ness.

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Article: “Genetic and clinical factors associated with obesity among adult survivors of childhood cancer: a report from the St. Jude Lifetime cohort.” Carmen L. Wilson, Wei Liu, Jun J. Yang, Guolian Kang, Rohit P. Ojha, Geoffrey Neale, Deo Kumar Srivastava, James G. Gurney, Melissa M. Hudson, Leslie L. Robison, and Kirsten K. Ness. CANCER; Published Online: May 11, 2015 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.29153).

URL Upon Publication: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/cncr.29153

Author Contact: Summer Freeman of St. Jude’s Research Hospital’s press office at +1 (901) 595-3061 or summer.freeman@stjude.org.

CANCER is a peer-reviewed publication of the American Cancer Society integrating scientific information from worldwide sources for all oncologic specialties. The objective of CANCER is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of information among oncologic disciplines concerned with the etiology and course of human cancer. CANCER is published by Wiley and can be accessed online at http://wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/cancer.

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