Publications

Low radiographic muscle density is associated with lower overall and disease-free survival in early-stage colorectal cancer patients

Baar, Harm van; Beijer, S.; Bours, M.J.L.; Weijenberg, M.P.; Zutphen, M. van; Duijnhoven, F.J.B. van; Slooter, G.D.; Pruijt, J.F.M.; Dronkers, J.J.; Haringhuizen, A.; Spillenaar Bilgen, E.J.; Hansson, B.M.E.; Wilt, J.H.W. de; Kampman, E.; Winkels, R.M.

Summary

Background: In cancer patients with a poor prognosis, low skeletal muscle radiographic density is associated with higher mortality. Whether this association also holds for early-stage cancer is not very clear. We aimed to study the association between skeletal muscle density and overall mortality among early-stage (stage I–III) colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Furthermore, we investigated the association between skeletal muscle density and both CRC-specific mortality and disease-free survival in a subset of the study population. Methods: Skeletal muscle density was assessed in 1681 early-stage CRC patients, diagnosed between 2006 and 2015, using pre-operative computed tomography images. Adjusted Cox proportional hazard models were used to evaluate the association between muscle density and overall mortality, CRC-specific mortality and disease-free survival. Results: The median follow-up time was 48 months (range 0–119 months). Low muscle density was detected in 39% of CRC patients. Low muscle density was significantly associated with higher mortality (low vs. normal: adjusted HR 1.91, 95% CI 1.53–2.38). After stratification for comorbidities, the association was highest in patients with ≥ 2 comorbidities (HR 2.11, 95% CI 1.55–2.87). Furthermore, low skeletal muscle density was significantly associated with poorer disease-free survival (HR 1.68, 95% CI 1.14–2.47), but not with CRC-specific mortality (HR 1.68, 95% CI 0.89–3.17) in a subset of the study population. Conclusion: In early-stage CRC patients, low muscle density was significantly associated with higher overall mortality, and worse disease-free survival.