Dr Victoria Bae-Jump on Obesity and Endometrial Cancer

March 26, 2018

Approximately 60% of patients with endometrial cancer are obese, explained Victoria Bae-Jump, MD, PhD, associate professor, gynecologic oncology, University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Approximately 60% of patients with endometrial cancer are obese, explained Victoria Bae-Jump, MD, PhD, associate professor, gynecologic oncology, University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Transcript

What impact does obesity have on risk and progression of endometrial cancer?

Endometrial cancer is by far the most obesity-driven cancer. Probably up to 60% or more of endometrial cancer patients are obese according to the numbers, so we know there’s a very strong risk factor for the development of this disease, no question. We also know that it may also be associated with worse outcomes for this disease, although it’s a little bit controversial of whether worse outcomes are related to actually cancer-specific outcomes or just all-cause mortality. But, endometrial cancer patients, given that obesity if such a huge risk factor, have the highest comorbidity of all cancers out there, and they actually more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than their endometrial cancer.

So, there’s no question that obesity is a driver of the development of this disease. I think that obesity status may help us figure out what metabolic treatments may be important in treating this disease, but I think right now we don’t treat obese and lean patients any different. But, there is some research going on; I think in my lab we’re trying to see if there are any targeted agents that be more helpful in cancers that arise in the setting of obesity, but I think that right now the data is still young, and so we just have to keep continuing to look at it and continue to work on it.

The 1 thing though to remember is that when this cancer is diagnosed in obese patients, it’s also a great teaching moment to encourage them for better eating patterns and exercise and all these things, irregardless of cancer outcomes, this is a good teaching moment to get them to improve their overall health.