Frequency of Sarcopenia, Sarcopenic Obesity, and Changes in Physical Function in Surgical Oncology Patients Referred for Prehabilitation.

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Integrative cancer therapies


washington; seattle; swedish cancer


PURPOSE: Sarcopenia and suboptimal performance status are associated with postoperative complications and morbidity in cancer patients. Prehabilitation has emerged as an approach to improve fitness and muscle strength in patients preoperatively. We sought to describe the frequency of sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity (SO) in a cohort of cancer patients referred for prehabilitation and the association between body composition and physical function.

METHODS: In this retrospective review of 99 consecutive cancer patients referred for prehabilitation prior to intended oncologic surgery, prehabilitation included physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physician evaluation of function and physical therapy for individualized home-based exercise. Sarcopenic A was defined using sex-adjusted norms of skeletal muscle (SKM), measured using the sliceOmatic software (TomoVision, 2012) on computed tomography images at baseline. Sarcopenic B was defined by abnormal SKM and physical function. SO was defined as sarcopenia with BMI ≥ 25. Six-minute walk test (6MWT), 5 times sit-to-stand (5×STS), and grip strength were obtained at consultation (baseline) and at preoperative follow-up (if available).

RESULTS: Forty-nine patients (49%) were Sarcopenic A, 28 (28%) SO, and 38 (38%) Sarcopenic B. Age was negatively correlated with SKM (

CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort of prehabilitation surgical oncology patients, frequencies of sarcopenia and SO were high, and baseline physical function was abnormal but improved significantly regardless of body composition. These findings suggest that patients have considerable prehabilitation needs and are capable of improving with comprehensive care.

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