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Abdominal adipose tissue radiodensity is associated with survival after colorectal cancer

Adipose tissue radiodensity may have prognostic importance for colorectal cancer (CRC) survival. Lower radiodensity is indicative of larger adipocytes, while higher radiodensity may represent adipocyte atrophy, inflammation, or edema. We investigated associations of adipose tissue radiodensity and longitudinal changes in adipose tissue radiodensity with mortality among patients with nonmetastatic CRC. In 3023 patients with stage I-III CRC, radiodensities of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were quantified from diagnostic computed tomography (CT) images. There were 1775 patients with follow-up images available. Cox proportional hazards models and restricted cubic splines were used to examine associations of at-diagnosis values and of longitudinal changes in VAT and SAT radiodensities with risks of death after adjusting for potential confounders, including body size and comorbidities. VAT and SAT radiodensities were linearly associated with all-cause mortality: the HRs for death per SD increase were 1.21 (95% CI, 1.11-1.32) for VAT radiodensity and 1.18 (95% CI, 1.11-1.26) for SAT radiodensity. Changes in adipose tissue radiodensity had curvilinear associations with risks of death. The HR for an increase in VAT radiodensity of at least 1 SD was 1.53 (95% CI, 1.23-1.90), while the HR for a decrease of at least 1 SD was nonsignificant at 1.11 (95% CI, 0.84-1.47) compared with maintaining radiodensity within 1 SD of baseline. Similarly, increases (HR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.48-2.40) but not decreases (HR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.94-1.54) in SAT radiodensity significantly increased the risk of death compared with no change in radiodensity. In patients with nonmetastatic CRC, adipose tissue radiodensity is a novel risk factor for total mortality that is independent of BMI and changes in body weight.

Authors: Feliciano, Elizabeth M Cespedes; Winkels, Renate M; Meyerhardt, Jeffrey A; Prado, Carla M; Afman, Lydia A; Caan, Bette J

Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 12 01;114(6):1917-1924.

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