Increase in Obesity Among Pediatric Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients May be Linked to Disease Relapse

Roswell Park/Columbia research to be presented at ASCO 2016 Annual Meeting
Saturday, June 4, 2016

CHICAGO, Ill. — Obesity has been identified as an adverse risk factor for survival in many adult and childhood cancers, but not in pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma, the most common cancer in adolescents. The results of a study led by researchers at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and Columbia University Medical Center used advanced imaging methods to evaluate obesity and suggest a relationship between obesity and disease relapse. The team’s findings will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 52nd Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The researchers analyzed computed tomography (CT) scans for fat components and lean muscle mass in a group of 101 pediatric patients enrolled in the Children’s Oncology Group clinical trial AHODOO31, with a goal of assessing the importance of obesity in Hodgkin lymphoma. The CT scans revealed characteristics such as disease staging and response to chemotherapy. Reduced muscle mass was observed among the group of patients who exhibited symptoms of fevers, weight loss and night sweats related to disease-specific cytokines at diagnosis. Increased fat deposits consistent with obesity were found among the patients who experienced relapse of their disease.

“Body mass index is a crude measure of obesity, and the actual measurement may be obscured by disease-related weight loss. Using imaging methods to evaluate body fat may allow for better determination of at-risk patients,” says senior author Kara Kelly, MD, Chair of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Roswell Park. “This study also indicates a need for further study of nutritional interventions to reduce the risk of fat deposits over the course of treatment and their impact on survival among Hodgkin lymphoma pediatric patients.”

The study, “Visceral fat and muscle changes during 6-week chemotherapy in pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma,” is ASCO 2016 abstract no. 10532 and will be exhibited on poster board no. 223 during the Pediatric Oncology poster session Monday, June 6, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. CDT in McCormick Place, Hall A.


The mission of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, Roswell Park is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

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