It is estimated that there were 3.45 million new cases and 1.75 million deaths from cancer in Europe in 2012. Colorectal cancer was one of the most common cancers, accounting for 13% of new cases and 12.2% of all deaths. Conditions causing reduced muscle mass, such as sarcopenia, can increase the morbidity and mortality of people with cancer. Computed tomography (CT) scans can provide accurate, high-quality information on body composition, including muscle mass. To date, there has been no systematic review on the role of CT scans in identifying sarcopenia in abdominal cancer. This review aimed to examine the role of CT scans in determining the influence of reduced muscle mass on clinical outcome in abdominal cancer. A systematic review of English-language articles published in 2000 or later was conducted. Articles included cohort, randomised controlled trials and validation studies. Participants were people diagnosed with abdominal cancer who had undergone a CT scan. Data extraction and critical appraisal were undertaken. Ten cohort studies met the inclusion criteria. Seven studies demonstrated that low muscle mass was significantly associated with poor clinical outcome, with six specifically demonstrating reduced survival rates. Eight studies demonstrated that a greater number of patients (27.3–66.7%) were identified as sarcopenic using CT scans compared with numbers identified as malnourished using body mass index. CT scans can identify reduced muscle mass and predict negative cancer outcomes in people with abdominal malignancies, where traditional methods of assessment are less effective.
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Gibson, D., Burden, S., Strauss, B. et al. The role of computed tomography in evaluating body composition and the influence of reduced muscle mass on clinical outcome in abdominal malignancy: a systematic review. Eur J Clin Nutr 69, 1079–1086 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2015.32
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