Computed tomography-defined muscle and fat wasting are associated with cancer clinical outcomes

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2016 Jun;54:2-10. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2015.09.001. Epub 2015 Sep 3.


Cancer cachexia (i.e., skeletal muscle wasting with or without fat loss) relates to several adverse outcomes. Computed tomography (CT) cross-sectional images serve as an efficient biomarker for assessment of cachexia in cancer patients. We systematically reviewed literature reporting quantitative evaluation of the cross sectional area of the main tissues implicated in cancer cachexia, muscle and visceral, subcutaneous and inter-muscular fat in CT scans at the 3rd lumbar vertebra. Our main goal was to summarize CT-defined variation of muscle and fat and the relationship between these features and cancer outcomes such as chemotherapy toxicity, post-surgery complications and survival.

Keywords: Cancer; Computed tomography; Fat; Muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cachexia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cachexia / etiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Prognosis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*