Overweight in childhood cancer patients at diagnosis and throughout therapy: A multicentre cohort study.

Belle, Fabiën N; Wenke-Zobler, Juliane; Cignacco, Eva; Spycher, Ben D; Ammann, Roland A; Kuehni, Claudia E; Zimmermann, Karin (2019). Overweight in childhood cancer patients at diagnosis and throughout therapy: A multicentre cohort study. Clinical nutrition, 38(2), pp. 835-841. Elsevier 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.02.022

[img] Text
Belle ClinNutr 2018.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (454kB) | Request a copy


Childhood cancer patients (CCP) have been reported to be at increased risk of becoming overweight during treatment. We assessed prevalence of overweight in CCP at diagnosis and at the end of treatment, determined risk factors, and identified weight change during treatment by type of cancer.


In a multicentre cohort study, we collected height and weight measurements of CCP at diagnosis and repeatedly during treatment. We calculated age- and sex-adjusted BMI Z-scores using references of the International Obesity Taskforce for children. Risk factors were described by multivariable linear regression, and weight change during treatment by multilevel segmented linear regression.


The study included 327 CCP with a median age of 7 years (IQR 3-12) at diagnosis (55% boys), who had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL, 29%), lymphoma (16%), central nervous system (CNS) tumours (13%), sarcoma (18%), and other types of cancer (24%). At diagnosis, 27 CCP (8%) were overweight. This increased to 43 (13%) at end of treatment, on average 0.7 years after diagnosis. Being a boy (p = 0.005) and having been diagnosed with ALL or lymphoma (p < 0.001) were risk factors for weight gain during treatment. During the first half of treatment, BMI Z-scores increased in ALL (regression slope β = 0.4, 95% CI 0.1-0.7) and lymphoma (β = 1.5, 95% CI 0.2-2.9) patients, whereas for patients with CNS tumours (β = -1.4, 95% CI -2.7 to -0.2), sarcoma (β = -1.4, 95% CI -2.0 to -0.7), or other types of cancer (β = -0.3, 95% CI -1.5-0.9) BMI Z-scores tended to drop initially. During the second half of treatment BMI Z-scores of all patients tended to increase. Exploratory analyses showed that BMI Z-scores of younger ALL patients (<7 years at diagnosis) increased during induction (β = 3.8, 95% CI 0.5-7.0). The inverse was seen for older ALL patients (≥7 years at diagnosis), in whom BMI Z-scores tended to decrease during induction (β = -1.5, -5.1-2.2), both groups tended to increase afterwards.


CCP diagnosed with ALL or lymphoma are at increased risk of weight gain during treatment, and might particularly benefit from early lifestyle interventions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Belle, Fabiën; Spycher, Ben; Ammann, Roland; Kühni, Claudia and Zimmermann, Karin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Tanya Karrer

Date Deposited:

03 Apr 2018 14:49

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 04:19

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Additional Information:

Belle and Wenke-Zobler contributed equally to this work.

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Childhood cancer patients Europe Obesity Overweight Swiss childhood cancer registry Treatment





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback