Multiple Myeloma Coverage from Every Angle

Is Higher Body Mass Index a Risk Factor for Multiple Myeloma?

By: Joseph Cupolo
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018

Researchers such as Brenda M. Birmann, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, continue to pursue evidence that body mass index (BMI) may be a risk factor in the development of multiple myeloma. For Dr. Birmann and colleagues, this pursuit led them to investigate whether BMI is a risk factor in earlier and later life. The data from their analysis, published in the British Journal of Cancer, support the premise that a high BMI in early and later adulthood are risk factors for multiple myeloma.

“Our findings,” concluded the researchers, “suggest that maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life may be an important component to a much-needed multiple myeloma prevention strategy.”

The investigators analyzed the medical records of 3 prospective cohorts of patients with multiple myeloma, totaling 205 men and 370 women. The risk of multiple myeloma increased 17% per 5 kg/m2 increase in cumulative average BMI and 28% per 5 kg/m2 increase in young adult BMI.

The risk of multiple myeloma did not significantly differ according to gender. The finding showed that irrespective of starting BMI in young adulthood, individuals who subsequently reduce their BMI or weight may have had a decreased risk of multiple myeloma.

A key finding for the investigators regarding the plausibility of an obesity-related link to multiple myeloma is that physiologic dysfunction of adipose tissue in obese patients may promote the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma. In addition, along with obesity-associated systemic changes, adipocyte-derived compounds may change BMI from earlier to later adulthood.

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