researcher peers into a microscope

Roswell Park Teams Report Latest Findings on Obesity & Cancer, Other High-Priority Research at AACR 2024

Featured contributions include insights to be shared in major symposium examining ‘obesity paradox’

  • Researchers from around the world gather in San Diego April 5-10
  • Dr. Sai Yendamuri to discuss obesity’s effects on immune response
  • Roswell Park poster abstracts address other critical topics in oncology

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Researchers from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center will share their latest findings with colleagues from around the world at the 2024 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in San Diego, California, April 5-10. The event attracts more than 21,000 professionals from the oncology field, as well as patients, survivors and advocates.

Major Symposium 

Obesity is now recognized as a leading cause of cancer, second only to smoking. The work of Roswell Park faculty will be featured in two presentations addressing that issue during a major symposium on The Growing Impact of Obesity on Cancer and Cancer Immunotherapy Outcomes, Monday, April 8, from 10:15-11:45 a.m. PDT in the San Diego Conference Center, Room 30, upper level:

  • Sai Yendamuri, MD, MBA, FACS, Chair of Thoracic Surgery, will discuss his team’s identification of two “confounding factors” that contradict the results of previous studies that found overweight and obesity to be beneficial for lung cancer patients. Those factors include the widespread use of body mass index (BMI) — a deeply flawed measure — to define obesity, and the fact that many commonly prescribed medications have a secondary anticancer effect in obese patients but not nonobese patients. In both preclinical and clinical studies, the team also revealed that obesity’s effects on the immune response enable lung cancer cells to proliferate. These findings have implications for improving the design of future studies to more accurately gauge the effects of obesity in cancer patients. Led by Dr. Yendamuri, the study was co-authored by Santosh Patnaik, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Department of Thoracic Surgery, and Joseph Barbi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Department of Immunology at Roswell Park. The work will be presented during Session SY38-02, “Clinical investigations of obesity in cancer: BMI and other confounders,” on Monday, April 8, 10:45-11:05 a.m.
  • Spencer Rosario, PhD, Assistant Member, Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, and Director of the Bioanalytics, Metabolomics & Pharmacokinetics Shared Resource, is co-author of a study to be presented as part of the same symposium — Session SY39-01, “Diverse effects of obesity on cancer immunology and therapy: Both the good and the bad,” Monday, April 8, 10:20-10:40 a.m. PDT. Dr. Rosario also contributed both metabolomics research and an understanding of immunometabolism to the symposium’s introduction, to help frame the way obesity should be considered in terms of the crosstalk between immunology and metabolism.

Featured Posters Highlight Other Roswell Park-Led Research

During the meeting, Roswell Park research teams will present posters documenting several other Roswell Park-led efforts advancing understanding in key areas of oncology:

The investigators gratefully acknowledge support from both public and private funding organizations, including the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and numerous National Institutes of Health agencies, in making this work possible. 


From the world’s first chemotherapy research to the PSA prostate cancer biomarker, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center generates innovations that shape how cancer is detected, treated and prevented worldwide. Driven to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity, the Roswell Park team of 4,000 makes compassionate, patient-centered cancer care and services accessible across New York State and beyond. Founded in 1898, Roswell Park was among the first three cancer centers nationwide to become a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and is the only one to hold this designation in Upstate New York. To learn more about Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Roswell Park Care Network, visit, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email


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