Background: Obesity surgery involves mechanical and physiological changes of the gastrointestinal tract that might promote colorectal cancer progression. Thus, we hypothesised that obesity surgery is associated with poorer prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer.
Methods: This nationwide population-based cohort study included all patients with an obesity diagnosis who subsequently developed colorectal cancer in Sweden from 1980 to 2012. The exposure was obesity surgery, and the main and secondary outcomes were disease-specific mortality and all-cause mortality, respectively. Cox proportional hazard survival models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for sex, age, calendar year and education level.
Results: The exposed and unexposed cohort included 131 obesity surgery and 1332 non-obesity surgery patients with colorectal cancer. There was a statistically significant increased rate of colorectal cancer deaths following obesity surgery (disease-specific HR 1.50, 95% CI 1.00-2.19). When analysed separately, the mortality rate was more than threefold increased in rectal cancer patients with prior obesity surgery (disease-specific HR 3.70, 95% CI 2.00-6.90), while no increased mortality rate was found in colon cancer patients (disease-specific HR 1.10, 85% CI 0.67-1.70).
Conclusion: This population-based study among obese individuals found a poorer prognosis in colorectal cancer following obesity surgery, which was primarily driven by the higher mortality rate in rectal cancer.
Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Colorectal neoplasms; Mortality; Registry; Survival.