Obesity in cancer survival

Niyati Parekh, Urmila Chandran, Elisa V. Bandera

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Although obesity is a well-known risk factor for several cancers, its role on cancer survival is poorly understood. We conducted a systematic literature review to assess the current evidence evaluating the impact of body adiposity on the prognosis of the three most common obesity-related cancers: prostate, colorectal, and breast. We included 33 studies of breast cancer, six studies of prostate cancer, and eight studies of colo-rectal cancer. We note that the evidence overrepresents breast cancer survivorship research and is sparse for prostate and colorectal cancers. Overall, most studies support a relationship between body adiposity and site-specific mortality or cancer progression. However, most of the research was not specifically designed to study these outcomes and, therefore, several methodological issues should be considered before integrating their results to draw conclusions. Further research is urgently warranted to assess the long-term impact of obesity among the growing population of cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-342
Number of pages32
JournalAnnual Review of Nutrition
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Adiposity
  • BMI
  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer prognosis
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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