Background: Obesity is a well-known risk factor for the development of several types of cancer including lymphomas, but its influence on the course of disease is fairly unknown. Recently, a retrospective cancer registry analysis demonstrated significantly prolonged survival for overweight and obese patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The study population almost exclusively consisted of male US American patients of lower socioeconomic status and one-fifth of patients received cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone (CHOP) chemotherapy without rituximab. Therefore, it remains unclear if these results can be extrapolated to the general DLBCL population.
Patients and methods: This retrospective single-center analysis included 183 unselected DLBCL patients who were treated with rituximab and standard-dosed anthracycline-based chemoimmunotherapy as first-line therapy between January 2004 and December 2012. Patients were stratified by body mass index (BMI) into 'low BMI' (<25.0 kg/m(2)) and 'high BMI' (≥25.0 kg/m(2)).
Results: The two groups were well balanced regarding age, performance score, international prognostic index, B-symptoms and extranodal involvement. However, there was a trend for male sex (P = 0.053) and higher-stage disease (P = 0.066) in the high-BMI group. Patients with higher BMI had significantly longer overall survival (OS; hazard ratio [HR] 0.546; P = 0.035) with 80.9% of patients alive at 3 years versus 64.2% in the low-BMI group. BMI was also an independent prognostic factor for OS in multivariate analysis (HR 0.557; P = 0.043).
Conclusion: We could show a significant association between overweight/obesity and improved OS in an unselected DLBCL cohort.
Keywords: body mass index; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; obesity; prognosis; survival.