HealthDay News — Obesity is associated with adverse prognosis and significantly worse disease-specific survival among patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue, according to a study published in Cancer.

Neil M. Iyengar, MD, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues assessed the prognostic implications of obesity on SCC of the oral tongue. From 2000 to 2009, 155 patients who had a nutritional assessment prior to undergoing curative resection were included in the study (median age, 57 years). Clinical outcomes, including disease-specific, recurrence-free and overall survival were compared by BMI group.

Compared with normal weight, obesity correlated with adverse disease-specific survival in univariate (hazard ratio, 2.65; 95% CI: 1.07-6.59; P=0.04) and multivariate analyses (HR, 5.01; 95% CI: 1.69-14.8; P=0.004), the researchers found.

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In multivariate analyses, obesity was consistently associated with worse recurrence-free survival (HR, 1.87; 95% CI: 0.90-3.88; P=0.09) and with worse overall survival (HR, 2.03; 95% CI: 0.88 to 4.65; P=0.10), although the results did not reach statistical significance.

“In this retrospective study, obesity was an adverse independent prognostic variable,” the researchers wrote. “This association may not have been previously appreciated due to confounding by multiple factors including prediagnosis weight loss.”


  1. Iyengar NM et al. Cancer. 2014; doi:10.1002/cncr.28532.