Early Weight Loss Linked to Lower Gastroesophageal Junction Carcinoma Survival Rates

Unintended weight loss is a symptom associated with many different forms of cancer. But what can this weight loss tell researchers about the patients and their outcomes? Healio shares a study in which researchers evaluated the intersection between weight loss and overall survival (OS) outcomes in those with metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction carcinoma who had previously received two or more therapeutic options. Ultimately, researchers determined that early weight loss signified overall worse patient outcomes, even with additional treatments.


The TAGS Clinical Trial

Within the Phase 3 TAGS clinical trial, researchers evaluated the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of trifluridine-tipiracil for those with metastatic gastroesophageal junction carcinoma and gastric cancer. Altogether, 451 patients enrolled. During the trial, researchers evaluated the benefits of this treatment. However, following the trial, researchers performed a retrospective analysis of the data to better understand the intersection of weight loss and OS. During the trial, 67.5% of participants received the treatment and the remaining 32.5% received a placebo.

During the retrospective analysis, the researchers organized patients into 2 distinct cohorts: those who had lost more than or less than 3% of their body weight. Findings included:

  • In both groups, less weight loss was associated with better outcomes.
  • Overall, the placebo was associated with more weight loss, whereas those with trifluridine-tipiracil did not see as heavy of an impact.
  • Trifluridine-tipiracil was relatively safe and well-tolerated, though adverse reactions did occur. Grade 3 reactions were significantly more common in those who had lost more than 3% of their body weight. Additionally, this group also had more incidences of appetite loss and nausea.
  • Those with higher body weight loss also typically had more cancer metastases.
  • Altogether, those who lost less weight and also received trifluridine-tipiracil did not see their condition progress for a median of 2.1 months. For patients who had lost more than 3% while also taking the treatment, or less than 3% who were not receiving the treatment, the median was 1.9 months. Finally, patients with 3%+ loss who did not receive the treatment saw a progression-free survival of 1.7 months.

Ultimately, researchers determined that early weight loss in those with these two cancers could be considered both a prognostic or predictive factor. This means that researchers can use this data to determine, potentially, how long someone might live following their diagnosis of metastatic gastroesophageal junction carcinoma or gastric cancer.

About Gastroesophageal Junction Carcinoma

Gastroesophageal junction carcinoma, or GE junction carcinoma, is a rare esophageal cancer. This cancer forms in mucus-creating cells in the GE junction, or the area where the esophagus and stomach meet. Risk factors include being Caucasian, being male, smoking cigarettes, being obese, having a diet lacking in fruit and vegetables, or having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Symptoms and characteristics include:

  • Unintended weight loss
  • Pressure and/or burning in the chest (from acid reflux)
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty eating and/or swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pallor (pale skin)

Learn more about gastroesophageal junction carcinoma here.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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