Tag Archive for: BMI


Article of the Week: Better fit than fat when it comes to radical cystectomy for bladder cancer

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Obesity is associated with worse oncological outcomes in patients treated with radical cystectomy

Thomas F. Chromecki1,2*, Eugene K. Cha1*, Harun Fajkovic1,3, Michael Rink1,4, Behfar Ehdaie1, Robert S. Svatek5, Pierre I. Karakiewicz6, Yair Lotan7, Derya Tilki8, Patrick J. Bastian8, Siamak Daneshmand9,Wassim Kassouf10, Matthieu Durand1, Giacomo Novara11, Hans-Martin Fritsche12, Maximilian Burger12, Jonathan I. Izawa13, Antonin Brisuda14, Marek Babjuk14, Karl Pummer2 and Shahrokh F. Shariat1

1Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY, USA, 2Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria, 3Landeskrankenhaus St Poelten, St Poelten, Austria, 4University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany, 5University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA, 6University of Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada, 7University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA, 8Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Klinikum Grosshadern, Munich, Germany, 9University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 10McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, QC, Canada, 11University of Padua, Padua, Italy, 12Caritas St Josef Medical Centre, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany, 13University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada, and 14Hospital Motol, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Praha, Czech Republic
*These authors contributed equally.


• To investigate the association between body mass index (BMI) and oncological outcomes in patients after radical cystectomy (RC) for urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) in a large multi-institutional series.


• Data were collected from 4118 patients treated with RC and pelvic lymphadenectomy for UCB. Patients receiving preoperative chemotherapy or radiotherapy were excluded.

• Univariable and multivariable models tested the effect of BMI on disease recurrence, cancer-specific mortality and overall mortality.

• BMI was analysed as a continuous and categorical variable (<25 vs 25–29 vs 30 kg/m2).


• Median BMI was 28.8 kg/m2 (interquartile range 7.9); 25.3% had a BMI <25 kg/m2, 32.5% had a BMI between 25 and 29.9 kg/m2, and 42.2% had a BMI 30 kg/m2.

• Patients with a higher BMI were older (P < 0.001), had higher tumour grade (P < 0.001), and were more likely to have positive soft tissue surgical margins (P = 0.006) compared with patients with lower BMI.

• In multivariable analyses that adjusted for the effects of standard clinicopathological features, BMI >30 was associated with higher risk of disease recurrence (hazard ratio (HR) 1.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.46–1.91, P < 0.001), cancer-specific mortality (HR 1.43, 95% CI 1.24–1.66, P < 0.001), and overall mortality (HR 1.81, CI 1.60–2.05, P < 0.001). The main limitation is the retrospective design of the study.


• Obesity is associated with worse cancer-specific outcomes in patients treated with RC for UCB.

• Focusing on patient-modifiable factors such as BMI may have significant individual and public health implications in patients with invasive UCB.


Read Previous Articles of the Week

Editorial: Obesity is associated with worse oncological outcomes in patients treated with radical cystectomy

Michael R. Abern, Stephen J. Freedland and Brant A. Inman

Division of Urologic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

Obesity is a worldwide epidemic: it is estimated over 300 million adults are obese and over 1 billion are overweight. As obesity is a risk factor for cancers and is modifiable, the authors of this report retrospectively analyse the association between body mass index (BMI) and outcomes in a large multinational cohort of bladder cancer patients that underwent radical cystectomy. They found that obese patients were older and more likely to have high-grade tumours. Furthermore, obese patients received inferior lymphadenectomies, had more positive margins, and were less likely to receive adjuvant chemotherapy. The end result is an association between obesity and bladder cancer recurrence, and both cancer-specific and overall mortality.

Although these data suggest that obesity is associated with poor radical cystectomy outcomes, this contrasts with evidence showing no link between obesity and bladder cancer mortality in population-based trials such as the Cancer Prevention Study II, which prospectively followed over 900 000 participants. Why the discrepancy? One possible explanation is the presence of confounding factors and one possible confounder is the presence of type 2 diabetes. In population-based studies that considered both BMI and diabetes, people with diabetes were noted to have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer independent of BMI, whereas the converse was not true. Additionally, diabetes has been associated with recurrence and progression of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer whereas obesity has not. The impact of diabetes was not adequately addressed in the current study.

Other limitations also probably affect the results. In the current study, overweight patients (BMI 25–30) had significantly better cancer-specific survival (hazard ratio 0.80, P = 0.01) than those of ‘normal’ weight (BMI < 25). However, a threshold BMI ≥ 30 has been shown to have poor sensitivity for obesity in elderly populations, with over 25% of patients with BMI under 30 qualifying as obese based on body fat. This may result in an overstatement of the effect of obesity. Conversely, the inclusion of underweight patients (BMI < 18.5) in the ‘normal’ group may underestimate the effect between obesity and outcome, as cachexia may be associated with poor outcomes. Another factor mentioned by the authors is the inferior lymphadenectomies performed in obese patients, which introduces a detection bias for lymph node positivity, the strongest predictor after advanced stage for all of their tested outcomes on multivariate analysis (hazard ratio 2.01–2.33, P < 0.001).

Although the true effect of obesity may be hard to quantify with these data, all would agree that maintaining a non-obese bodyweight will help many disease states with little apparent harm. Patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy before radical cystectomy have a 3-month window to lose weight and exercise more. This could improve surgical outcomes, and possibly tolerance of chemotherapy. Furthermore, if we can prove that obesity leads to increased bladder cancer recurrence or progression, a window of opportunity may exist when a low-risk tumour is diagnosed. Otherwise, we are left with the eighteenth century wisdom of Benjamin Franklin: ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’

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