Evaluation of the impact of cachexia on clinical outcomes in aggressive lymphoma

Br J Haematol. 2019 Jul;186(1):45-53. doi: 10.1111/bjh.15889. Epub 2019 Apr 2.


Cancer cachexia is a state of involuntary weight loss and altered body composition triggered by an underlying malignancy. We sought to correlate measures of cachexia with clinical outcomes in aggressive lymphomas and to identify biological pathways involved in the cachexia phenotype for possible druggable targets. Radiographic measures of cachexia were collected in a retrospective cohort of 109 patients with aggressive B-cell lymphoma and followed for clinical outcome. We found males with sarcopenia had reduced progression-free survival (5·4 vs. 72·3 months, P < 0·0005) and overall survival (OS; 30·2 months vs. not reached, NR, P = 0·02); males with adipopenia also had decreased OS (21·6 months vs. NR, P = 0·04). A trend for increased OS was observed in female sarcopenics only (32·8 months vs. NR, P = 0·08). Additionally, we analysed a prospective cohort of 14 patients for differences in circulating molecular targets involved in various biological pathways. There was a significant correlation with cachexia for reduced serum levels of mediators within the glucose utilization [insulin -like growth factor (IGF)-binding protein 6, P = 0·04; IGF-1, P = 0·02], inflammation (lymphotoxin-like inducible protein that competes with glycoprotein D for herpesvirus entry on T cells; LIGHT, P = 0·005), and energy intake/expenditure (leptin, P = 0·004). We conclude that cachexia in patients with aggressive lymphomas has sex-specific prognostic utility and correlates with measurable changes in metabolism and immune function.

Keywords: adipopenia; cachexia; non-Hodgkin lymphomas; outcomes; sarcopenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition
  • Cachexia / immunology
  • Cachexia / metabolism
  • Cachexia / pathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / mortality
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / pathology*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sarcopenia
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss