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A systematic review and meta-analysis of sarcopenia as a prognostic factor in gynecological malignancy


Introduction Sarcopenia is a condition described as the progressive generalized loss of muscle mass and strength. While sarcopenia has been linked with poorer outcomes following a variety of malignancies, its relationship with all gynecological cancer clinical outcomes has, to date, not been evaluated. This review interrogates the concept of sarcopenia as a prognostic tool for oncological outcomes and adverse effects of treatments in all primary gynecological malignancies.

Methods This systematic review and meta-analysis was performed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines, searching PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL without date or language restriction for studies reporting on sarcopenia and gynecological malignancies. Random effects meta-analysis models were used to determine the effects of sarcopenia on progression-free survival, overall survival, and treatment-related adverse events.

Results Data were analyzed from 13 studies, including 2446 patients (range 60–323) with ovarian cancer (n=1381), endometrial cancer (n=354), or cervical cancer (n=481). Sarcopenia was associated with lower progression-free survival (HR 1.69, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.76), overall survival (HR 1.33, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.64), and no increase in adverse events (HR 1.28, 95% CI 0.69 to 2.40). The risk of bias of the studies was mostly rated unclear, and Begg’s and Egger’s test revealed a potential publication bias for progression-free survival and overall survval, although the HRs remained significant when adjusting for it.

Conclusion Sarcopenia is associated with worse progression-free survival and overall survival in gynecological oncology malignancies. Further research is warranted to validate these findings in larger and prospective samples using standardized methodology and to examine if an intervention could reverse its effect in gynecological oncology trials.

  • Endometrial Neoplasms
  • Cervix Uteri
  • Ovarian Cancer

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