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. 2015 Dec 1;121(23):4197-204.
doi: 10.1002/cncr.29614. Epub 2015 Aug 19.

Changes in Body Mass Index in Long-Term Childhood Cancer Survivors

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Changes in Body Mass Index in Long-Term Childhood Cancer Survivors

Hanneke M van Santen et al. Cancer. .
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Background: Previous studies have reported changes in the body mass index (BMI) with time in childhood cancer survivors (CCSs) during follow-up. The limitations of these studies include that they described only a subgroup of survivors or used questionnaires with self-reported heights and weights. The goal of this study was to examine BMI in a large cohort of long-term CCSs and relate this to the BMI at diagnosis, age, sex, tumor type, treatment, and endocrine defects.

Methods: All patients treated for childhood cancer at the Emma Children's Hospital/Academic Medical Center between 1966 and 1996 who had survived for at least 5 years were eligible for inclusion. For 893 CCSs with a mean follow-up of 14.9 years, the BMI at the late effects outpatient clinic was compared with the BMI for the general Dutch population.

Results: For girls, an increased prevalence of obesity was found. Risk factors for developing a high BMI at follow-up were a younger age and a high BMI at diagnosis and treatment with cranial radiotherapy. A significantly increased prevalence of severe underweight was found in all adult subgroups except for females aged 26 to 45 years. An association was found between a low BMI at diagnosis and a low BMI at follow-up. No treatment-related variables could be related to changes in BMI.

Conclusions: The BMI at diagnosis is one of the most important predictors for the BMI at follow-up, and this suggests an important genetic or environmental cause. Adult CCSs are at high risk for developing severe underweight at follow-up. Future studies should focus on the causes and clinical consequences of underweight.

Keywords: body mass index; childhood cancer survivor; late effects; obesity; underweight.

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