• body mass index;
  • prognostic factors;
  • esophageal cancer;
  • surgery;
  • stage



High body mass index (BMI), a prevalent condition in the United States, is associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Its influence on a patient's outcome remains unclear. In the current study, the authors examined the impact of BMI on survival and complications in patients with esophageal cancer (EC) who underwent surgery as their primary therapy.


The authors retrospectively reviewed 301 consecutive EC patients who underwent surgery but received no adjunctive therapy. Patients were segregated into 2 subgroups based on their baseline BMI: normal/low (<25 kg/m2) and high (≥25 kg/m2).


Seventy-six (25%) patients had a BMI <25 kg/m2 and 225 (75%) patients had a BMI ≥25 kg/m2. In the high BMI group, there were more men (P < .001), fewer upper ECs (P = .021), a lower baseline clinical stage (P = .006), and frequent EAC (P < .001). Postoperative morbidity was similar in both groups, with the exception of gastrointestinal complications (P = .016). The 5-year overall survival (OS) rates were 44% in the normal/low BMI group and 60% in the high BMI group (P = .017). The 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) rates were 41% in the normal/low BMI group and 60% in the high BMI group (P = .005). On multivariable analysis, age, weight loss, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), and both clinical and pathological stage of disease were found to be independent prognosticators for OS. Older age (hazard ratio [HR], 1.029; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.009-1.049 [P = .004]), weight loss (HR, 1.525; 95% CI, 1.034-2.248 [P = .033]), and PVD (HR, 2.325; 95% CI, 1.039-5.204 [P = .040]) were found to be associated with poor OS.


High BMI is common in EC patients and the better OS/DFS noted in patients with a high BMI is because of the diagnosis of a low baseline clinical stage. Confirmation of these findings is warranted. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.