Platinum/paclitaxel-based chemotherapy is a current treatment for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer. We sought to explore the association between weight change during treatment and survival, as well as the association between pre-chemotherapy body mass index (BMI) and survival.
A retrospective data review was conducted of 792 advanced ovarian cancer patients who participated in a phase III randomized trial of cisplatin/paclitaxel versus carboplatin/paclitaxel. Pre-chemotherapy BMI was calculated following surgery. Weight change was defined as the ratio of body weight at completion of protocol therapy to pre-chemotherapy body weight. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS), classified by BMI or relative weight change, were estimated by Kaplan-Meier, and associations were assessed using a Cox model controlled for known prognostic variables (age, race, performance status, histology, tumor grade, tumor residual and treatment group).
There was no association between pre-chemotherapy BMI and survival. There was a significant relationship between median OS and weight change as follows: >5% decrease=48.0 months; 0-5% decrease=49.3 months; 0-5% increase=61.1 months; and >5% increase=68.2 months. Adjusted for covariates, the relative risk of death increased by 7% for each 5% decrease in body weight (HR=0.93, 95% CI=0.88-0.99; p=0.013)
Change of body weight during primary chemotherapy was a strong prognostic factor for overall survival. Loss of body weight during primary therapy is an indicator for poor OS; weight gain is an indicator for improved survival. This study supports the development of strategies to minimize weight loss that can be assessed in a prospective, randomized study to improve patient outcomes.