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Obesity leads to more aggressive ovarian cancer, Cedars-Sinai research shows

Los Angeles, CA (August 28, 2006) Whether or not a woman is obese will likely affect her outcome once she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, according to a new study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The study, published online on Aug. 28 in the American Cancer Society's journal Cancer, showed that obesity affected survival rates, shortened the length of time to recurrence of the disease, and led to earlier death from the cancer than for women diagnosed at their ideal body weight.

"This study is the first to identify weight as an independent factor in ovarian cancer in disease progression and overall survival, suggesting that there is an element in the fat tissue itself that influences the outcome of this disease in obese women," said Andrew Li, M.D., the study's principal investigator at Cedars-Sinai's Women's Cancer Research Institute at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

Ovarian cancer, one of the most lethal cancers, affects almost one in 60 women. Most will be diagnosed with advanced disease, and 70 percent will die within five years. There are several types of ovarian cancer, but tumors that begin with the surface cells of the ovary (epithelial cells) are the most common type. While previous studies have shown that obesity is a factor in the development and prognosis of cancers such as breast, uterine and colorectal, the nature of the relationship in ovarian cancers has been less well understood. Obesity is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above.

In this study, Li and his colleagues examined data from 216 patients with epithelial ovarian cancer to identify relationships between obesity, ovarian cancer, tumor biology and outcome. Comparison of the obese women (35 of 216) to ideal-weight women (108 of 216) showed 29 percent of the obese women and 10 percent of normal-weight women had localized disease. However, obesity was shown to have a significant effect on both the recurrence and mort
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Contact: Simi Singer
simi.singer@cshs.org
310-423-7798
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
28-Aug-2006


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