Chemotherapy-associated steatosis is poorly understood in the context of colorectal cancer. In this study, Stage II-III colorectal cancer patients were retrospectively selected to evaluate the frequency of chemotherapy-associated steatosis and to determine whether patients on statins throughout adjuvant chemotherapy develop chemotherapy-associated steatosis at a lower frequency. Baseline and incident steatosis for up to one year from chemotherapy start date was assessed based on radiology. Of 269 patients, 76 (28.3%) had steatosis at baseline. Of the remaining 193 cases, patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy (n = 135) had 1.57 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.89 to 2.79) times the adjusted risk of developing steatosis compared to patients not receiving chemotherapy (n = 58). Among patients who underwent chemotherapy, those using statins for pre-existing hyperlipidemia (n = 37) had 0.71 (95% CI, 0.10 to 2.75) times the risk of developing steatosis compared to patients who were not prevalent users of statins (n = 98). Chemotherapeutic treatment of Stage II-III colorectal cancer appears to be consistent with a moderately increased risk of steatosis, although larger studies are necessary to assess the significance of this observation. Prospective trials should be considered to further explore the potential for protective use of statins in this curative patient population.
Keywords: chemotherapy; colorectal neoplasm; fatty liver.