Expert Point of View: Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP

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Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP

With some two-thirds of adults in the United States now obese or overweight, there is no avoiding it is a complicating factor in cancer care.

—Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP

“To our surprise, obesity had a negative prognostic effect on premenopausal patients with breast cancer but not on those who were postmenopausal. We need to consider these findings in the context of results from other data sources that suggest that obesity remains a negative prognostic feature in women with breast cancer,” said ASCO Immediate Past President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, discussing the results of the study by Pan et al.

“We know that obesity and overweight are associated with increased risk of developing estrogen receptor–positive postmenopausal breast cancer. Obesity is often associated with low-grade chronic inflammation of adipose tissue in the breast, and this is now known to activate aromatase activity and thereby tissue production of estrogen even after the ovarian function has decreased. It is therefore somewhat surprising to see that the effect of obesity is less clear in postmenopausal women than in premenopausal women,” Dr. Hudis continued.

“Obesity is a major challenge, and if current trends continue it will replace tobacco as the leading modifiable risk factor for cancer. It is also a general public health problem. With some two-thirds of adults in the United States now obese or overweight, there is no avoiding it is a complicating factor in cancer care. ASCO is working to support physicians and patients who need to manage cancer in the setting of increased body mass index, and we are seeking new strategies to address this challenge,” Dr. Hudis said. ■

Disclosure: Dr. Hudis reported no potential conflicts of interest.

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