Body composition as a predictor of toxicity in patients receiving anthracycline and taxane-based chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Poor body composition metrics (BCM) are associated with inferior cancer outcomes; however, in early breast cancer (EBC), there is a paucity of evidence regarding the impact of BCM on toxicities. This study investigates associations between BCM and treatment-related toxicity in patients with EBC receiving anthracyclines and taxane-based chemotherapy. Experimental Design: Pretreatment computerized tomographic (CT) images were evaluated for skeletal muscle area (SMA), skeletal muscle density (SMD), and fat tissue at the third lumbar vertebrae. Skeletal muscle index (SMI ¼ SMA/height2) and skeletal muscle gauge (SMG ¼ SMI SMD) were also calculated. Relative risks (RR) are reported for associations between body composition measures and toxicity outcomes, after adjustment for age and body surface area (BSA). Results: BCM were calculated for 151 patients with EBC (median age, 49 years; range, 23-75 years). Fifty patients (33%) developed grade 3/4 toxicity, which was significantly higher in those with low SMI (RR, 1.29; P ¼ 0.002), low SMG (RR, 1.09; P ¼ 0.01), and low lean body mass (RR, 1.48; P ¼ 0.002). Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed the SMG measure to be the best predictor of grade 3/4 toxicity. Dividing SMG into tertiles showed toxicity rates of 46% and 22% for lowest versus highest tertile, respectively (P ¼ 0.005). After adjusting for age and BSA, low SMG (<1,475 units) was significantly associated with hematologic (RR, 2.12; P ¼ 0.02), gastrointestinal grade 3/4 toxicities (RR, 6.49; P ¼ 0.02), and hospitalizations (RR, 1.91; P ¼ 0.05). Conclusions: Poor BCMs are significantly associated with increased treatment-related toxicities. Further studies are needed to investigate how these metrics can be used to more precisely dose chemotherapy to reduce treatment-related toxicity while maintaining efficacy.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Shachar SS; Deal AM; Weinberg M; Williams GR; Nyrop KA; Popuri K; Choi SK; Muss HB
  • Start Page

  • 3537
  • End Page

  • 3543
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 14