Review of the Interaction Between Body Composition and Clinical Outcomes in Metastatic Renal Cell Cancer Treated With Targeted Therapies

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Steven M. Yip
Daniel Y.C. Heng
Patricia A. Tang


adiposity, body composition, obesity, renal cell carcinoma, sarcopenia, targeted therapy, toxicity


Treatment of metastatic renal cell cancer (mRCC) currently focuses on inhibition of the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. Obesity confers a higher risk of RCC. However, the influence of obesity on clinical outcomes in mRCC in the era of targeted therapy is less clear. This review focuses on the impact of body composition on targeted therapy outcomes in mRCC. The International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium database has the largest series of patients evaluating the impact of body mass index (BMI) on outcomes in mRCC patients treated with targeted therapy. Overall survival was significantly improved in overweight patients (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2), and this observation was externally validated in patients who participated in Pfizer trials. In contrast, sarcopenia is consistently associated with increased toxicity to inhibitors of angiogenesis and mTOR. Strengthening patients with mRCC and sarcopenia, through a structured exercise program and dietary intervention, may improve outcomes in mRCC treated with targeted therapies. At the same time, the paradox of obesity being a risk factor for RCC while offering a better overall survival in response to targeted therapy needs to be further evaluated.

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