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Does body mass index at diagnosis or weight change during therapy predict toxicity or survival in intermediate risk rhabdomyosarcoma? A report from the Children's Oncology Group soft tissue sarcoma committee


  • Conflict of interest: Nothing to declare.



Weight loss prevalence and its impact on toxicities and survival in intermediate risk rhabdomyosarcoma (IRMS) patients are unknown. We evaluated the association between weight change during therapy and number of toxicities, hospital days, infections, and overall survival and between baseline body mass index (BMI) and survival in patients treated on Children's Oncology Group trial D9803.


Four hundred sixty-eight IRMS patients age ≥2 and <21 years treated on D9803 had required data. Regression models evaluated association between weight loss from baseline and toxicities, hospital days, infections, and survival. Kaplan–Meier curves and regression models evaluated baseline BMI percentile's association with survival.


Thirty-five percent and 37% of patients had >5% weight loss at 12 and 24 weeks, respectively, with 16% and 19% losing >10% weight respectively. Greater than 10% weight loss at 24 weeks was associated with more toxicities and hospital days during subsequent therapy but not infection rate or survival. Baseline underweight patients (<5th percentile BMI) had borderline inferior survival compared with baseline average weight patients while there was no difference in survival seen between average weight and overweight or obese patients.


Nearly one in five IRMS patients experienced >10% weight loss on therapy. This was associated with increased toxicity but not decreased survival compared with patients who had less weight loss. Baseline BMI percentile trended toward a significant association with survival. Future studies might investigate nutritional impact on quality of life and if weight loss is preventable by early nutritional intervention. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2013; 60: 748–753. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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