No evidence found to support current practice of using body mass index (BMI) to manage heart attack risk
Colorectal cancer survivors’ risk for heart attack – 5 times that of the average person – was linked to the amount of fat stored within the abdomen and abdominal muscles, not to survivor’s body-mass index (BMI), according to a new study of 2,800 colon cancer survivors from Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region.
The study, “Body Composition and Cardiovascular Events in Patients With Colorectal Cancer,” was published today in JAMA Oncology.
Current clinical practice guidelines for colorectal cancer survivors now recommend using BMI, a measure of weight over height, to guide heart disease risk management.
Colon cancer patients typically undergo a CT scan before surgery to determine if the cancer has spread to the chest, abdomen, or pelvis; these results are used to assess body fat and the subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers from Pennington Biomedical Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and University of Alberta reviewed the long-term cardiovascular outcomes of the colorectal cancer survivors.
“This study demonstrates the importance at every BMI level of having more precise measures of muscle and fat to help identify those patients who are at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease,” said co-author Bette J. Caan, DrPH, research scientist in the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.