Visceral obesity with and without metabolic syndrome: incidence and clinical impact in esophageal adenocarcinoma treated with curative intent

Type Article

Journal Article


J. A. Elliott; N. E. Donlon; P. Beddy; C. L. Donohoe; S. L. Doyle; S. King; N. Ravi; J. V. Reynolds

Year of publication



Dis Esophagus





Visceral obesity (VO) and metabolic syndrome (MetS) are risk factors for esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC); however, their impact on operative and oncological outcomes is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of VO and MetS among patients with EAC, and to assess their independent impact on operative and oncological outcomes. A total of 454 consecutive patients undergoing treatment with curative intent were studied. Total, subcutaneous, visceral fat area (VFA), and lean body mass (LBM) were measured by computed tomography pretreatment, with VO defined as VFA >163.8cm2 for men and 80.1cm2 for women. MetS was defined per the ATPIII definition. Multivariable logistic and Cox proportional hazards regression were utilized to determine independent predictors of oncologic and operative outcomes. A total of 227 patients (50.0%) had VO. A total of 134 (30%) overall had MetS, 44% in the VO cohort. VO was associated with Barrett's esophagus (P = 0.002) and lower cT (P = 0.006) and cN stage (P = 0.011), and improved disease-specific (P = 0.021) and overall survival (P = 0.012). No survival benefit existed for patients with VO who also had MetS. For operative complications, neither VO nor MetS increased the severity of complications, or mortality. However, VO was significantly (P = 0.035) associated with anastomotic leak and pneumonia (P = 0.037). MetS alone did not increase complication risk. VO increases specific major operative complications with no increase in mortality. VO improved survival, mainly relating to earlier stage disease; however, co-existent MetS abrogated this benefit. These seemingly paradoxical outcomes highlight manageable and potentially targetable perioperative challenges in the context of an overall favorable oncologic vista.