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Association Between Weight Loss and the Risk of Cancer after Bariatric Surgery

The goal of this study was to determine whether the reduction in cancer risk after bariatric surgery is due to weight loss. A retrospective matched cohort study of patients undergoing bariatric surgery was conducted using data from a large integrated health insurance and care delivery system with five sites in four states. The study included 18,355 bariatric surgery subjects and 40,524 nonsurgical subjects matched on age, sex, BMI, site, and Elixhauser comorbidity index. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models examined the relationship between weight loss at 1 year and incident cancer during up to 10 years of follow-up. The study identified 1,196 cases of incident cancer. The average 1-year postsurgical weight loss was 27% among patients undergoing bariatric surgery versus 1% in matched nonsurgical patients. Percent weight loss at 1 year was significantly associated with a reduced risk of any cancer in adjusted models (HR 0.897, 95% CI: 0.832-0.968, P = 0.005 for every 10% weight loss) while bariatric surgery was not a significant independent predictor of cancer incidence. Weight loss after bariatric surgery was associated with a lower risk of incident cancer. There was no apparent independent effect of the bariatric surgery itself on cancer risk that was independent of weight loss.

Authors: Schauer DP; Feigelson HS; Koebnick C; Caan B; Weinmann S; Leonard AC; Powers JD; Yenumula PR; Arterburn DE

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 11;25 Suppl 2:S52-S57.

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