Objective Our primary aim was to compare muscle morphology (skeletal muscle mass and density) between patients who underwent primary cytoreductive surgery versus interval cytoreductive surgery for advanced high-grade serous ovarian cancer. Secondarily, we explored the associations of muscle morphology with survival outcomes.
Methods We retrospectively analysed computed tomography (CT) images for 88 ovarian cancer patients (aged 38–89 years) to calculate skeletal muscle index (cm2/m2) and skeletal muscle density (Hounsfield units (HU)). A skeletal muscle index of <38.5 cm2/m2 and skeletal muscle density of <33.7 HU were classified as low. Analyses included repeated measures analysis of covariance and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression.
Results At baseline, 44.3% of patients had low skeletal muscle index and 50.6% had low skeletal muscle density, with interval surgery patients having significantly lower mean skeletal muscle density than primary surgery patients (32.2±8.9 vs 37.3±8.6 HU, p=0.014). Although both groups had similar reductions in skeletal muscle index following treatment (p=0.49), primary surgery patients had a greater reduction in skeletal muscle density compared with interval surgery patients (−2.4 HU, 95% CI −4.3 to −0.5, p=0.016). Patients who experienced skeletal muscle density loss >2% during treatment (HR 5.16, 95% CI 1.33 to 20.02) and had low skeletal muscle density post-treatment (HR 58.87, 95% CI 3.70 to 935.68) had significantly worse overall survival.
Conclusion Low skeletal muscle index and skeletal muscle density were prevalent at ovarian cancer diagnosis. While both groups experienced muscle mass loss, greater reductions in skeletal muscle density occurred in patients undergoing primary surgery. In addition, skeletal muscle density loss during treatment and low skeletal muscle density post-treatment were associated with poorer overall survival. Supportive care involving resistance exercise targeting muscle hypertrophic drive, and nutrition counseling during and after ovarian cancer treatment may help preserve/enhance muscle mass and density.
- Ovarian Cancer
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Contributors Authors’ contributions: CS: guarantor, conceptualization, methodology, investigation, formal analysis, project administration, writing – original draft; PL: formal analysis, writing – original draft; PAC: conceptualization, methodology, investigation, writing – review & editing; DRT: conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, writing – review & editing; RUN: conceptualization, methodology, supervision, writing – review & editing; DAG: conceptualization, methodology, writing – review & editing; EJ: formal analysis, writing – review & editing; TMM: conceptualization, methodology, writing – review & editing; CM: conceptualization, methodology, project administration, supervision, writing – review & editing.
Funding CS was financially supported by an Edith Cowan University Ph.D. Scholarship, Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship, and Western Australian Cancer Council Ph.D. Top-up Scholarship.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.