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BMC Cancer. 2010 Nov 25;10:648. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-648.

Weight change during chemotherapy changes the prognosis in non metastatic breast cancer for the worse.

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Division of Clinical Research, Centre Jean Perrin, Clermont-Ferrand, F-63011 France.



Weight change during chemotherapy is reported to be associated with a worse prognosis in breast cancer patients, both with weight gain and weight loss. However, most studies were conducted prior to the common use of anthracycline-base chemotherapy and on North American populations with a mean BMI classified as overweight. Our study was aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of weight change during anthracycline-based chemotherapy on non metastatic breast cancer (European population) with a long term follow-up.


Patients included 111 women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and locally advanced breast cancer who have been treated by anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimen between 1976 and 1989. The relative percent weight variation (WV) between baseline and postchemotherapy treatment was calculated and categorized into either weight change (WV > 5%) or stable (WV < 5%). The median follow-up was 20.4 years [19.4 - 27.6]. Cox proportional hazard models were used to evaluate any potential association of weight change and known prognostic factors with the time to recurrence and overall survival.


Baseline BMI was 24.4 kg/m2 [17.1 - 40.5]. During chemotherapy treatment, 31% of patients presented a notable weight variation which was greater than 5% of their initial weight.In multivariate analyses, weight change (> 5%) was positively associated with an increased risk of both recurrence (RR 2.28; 95% CI: 1.29-4.03) and death (RR 2.11; 95% CI: 1.21-3.66).


Our results suggest that weight change during breast-cancer chemotherapy treatment may be related to poorer prognosis with higher recurrence and higher mortality in comparison to women who maintained their weight.

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