ORLANDO, Fla.—Overweight or obesity is associated with better overall and progression-free survival among patients who receive targeted therapy for metastatic clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), new study findings presented at the 2015 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium suggest.

Laurence Albiges, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and collaborators analyzed 4,657 patients with metastatic RCC who received targeted therapy in phase 2-3 clinical trials. At initiation of targeted therapy, 1,829 patients (39%) were normal or underweight (body mass index [BMI] less than 25 kg/m2 and 2,828 (61% were overweight or obese (BMI 25 kg/m2 or higher). 

The high BMI group had a significantly longer median overall survival than the low BMI group (23.4 vs. 14.5 months), a difference that translated into a 17% decreased risk of death in the high BMI group, in adjusted analyses. In addition, the high BMI group had a significant 18% decreased risk of progression. When stratified by histologic subtype, the favorable outcome associated with high BMI was observed only in patients with ccRCC, Dr. Albiges’ group reported.

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“In an external cohort, we validate BMI as an independent prognostic factor for improved survival in mRCC,” the authors concluded.

Given that the survival benefit was observed only in patients with ccRCC, they hypothesize that lipid metabolism may be modulated by fat-laden tumor cells.