The influence of sarcopenia on survival and surgical complications in ovarian cancer patients undergoing primary debulking surgery

I. J. G. Rutten*, J. Ubachs, R. F. P. M. Kruitwagen, D. P. J. van Dijk, R. G. H. Beets-Tan, L. F. A. G. Massuger, S. W. M. Olde Damink, T. Van Gorp

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Sarcopenia, severe skeletal muscle loss, has been identified as a prognostic factor in various malignancies. This study aims to investigate whether sarcopenia is associated with overall survival (OS) and surgical complications in patients with advanced ovarian cancer undergoing primary debulking surgery (PDS).

Methods: Ovarian cancer,patients (n = 216) treated with PDS were enrolled retrospectively. Total skeletal muscle surface area was measured on axial computed tomography at the level of the third lumbar vertebra. Optimum stratification was used to find the optimal skeletal muscle index cut-off to define sarcopenia (

Results: Kaplan Meier analysis showed a significant survival disadvantage for patients with sarcopenia compared to patients without sarcopenia (p = 0.010). Sarcopenia univariably predicted OS (HR 1.536 (95% CI 1.105-2.134), p = 0.011) but was not significant in multi variable Cox-regression analysis (HR 1.362 (95% CI 0.968-1.916), p = 0.076). Significant predictors for OS in multivariable Cox regression analysis were complete PDS, treatment in a specialised centre and the development of major complications. Sarcopenia was not predictive of major complications.

Conclusion: Sarcopenia was not predictive of OS or major complications in ovarian cancer patients undergoing primary debulking surgery. However a strong trend towards a survival disadvantage for patients with sarcopenia was seen. Future prospective studies should focus on interventions to prevent or reverse sarcopenia and possibly increase ovarian cancer survival. Complete cytoreduction remains the strongest predictor of ovarian cancer survival. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd, BASO - The Association for Cancer Surgery, and the European Society of Surgical Oncology. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-724
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Sarcopenia
  • Ovarian neoplasms
  • X-ray computed tomography
  • Survival
  • Postoperative complications
  • Prognosis
  • MASS

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