Although weight loss is common in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients receiving radiotherapy, the prognostic influence of weight loss and its impact modified by body mass index (BMI) are still unclear.
2433 NPC patients receiving radical radiotherapy at Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center from November, 2000 to December, 2004 were enrolled. Weight change during radiation treatment was categorized into high weight loss (HWL) and low weight loss (LWL). The associations of HWL with overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) were analyzed by Cox regression.
Among underweight patients, HWL was independently associated with poor OS (hazard ratio [HR], 2.06; 95% CI 1.36–3.11) and DSS (HR, 2.27; 95% CI 1.38–3.73), as compared with LWL, after adjusting for covariates. In normal weight patients, the impact of HWL on OS (HR, 1.47; 95% CI 1.19–1.80) and DSS (HR, 1.59; 95% CI 1.24–2.03) was moderate. Among overweight/obese patients, no significant association between HWL and OS (HR, 1.22; 95% CI 0.95–1.55), or DSS (HR, 1.23; 95% CI 0.93–1.64) was found.
Except for overweight/obese patients, high weight loss during radiation treatment was independently associated with poor survival in NPC. This impact was more prominent in the underweight patient group.