Original Research

The prevalence of sarcopenia amongst non-small cell lung cancer patients, assessed using computed tomography, prior to treatment in a South African setting

Luke D. Metelo-Liquito, Cleo Solomon, Deepa Bhana-Nathoo
South African Journal of Oncology | Vol 6 | a218 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajo.v6i0.218 | © 2022 Luke D. Metelo-Liquito, Cleo Solomon, Deepa Bhana-Nathoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 December 2021 | Published: 31 May 2022

About the author(s)

Luke D. Metelo-Liquito, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Cleo Solomon, Department of Medical Oncology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Deepa Bhana-Nathoo, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Identification of sarcopenia in lung cancer is important to improve quality of life and treatment planning; however, clinical detection is challenging. Computed tomography (CT) may improve detection and assist with dose adjustment and prognostication.

Aim: To use CT to assess the prevalence of sarcopenia amongst non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients prior to treatment.

Setting: Non-small cell lung cancer patients (n = 66) attending Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) medical oncology clinic between 01 July 2017 and 01 July 2020 with staging CTs or CT chests including L3 level done at CMJAH prior to treatment.

Methods: The L3 skeletal muscle index (SMI L3) was assessed based on the cross-sectional muscle area at L3 vertebral level on CT. The prevalence of sarcopenia was determined based on gender-specific cut-offs defined by the International Consensus on Cancer Cachexia.

Results: The overall prevalence of sarcopenia was 69.7% (n = 46). There was a statistically significant difference in sarcopenia prevalence according to gender (males 82.2% [n = 37] compared to females 42.9% [n = 9] [p = 0.00]) and body mass index (BMI) (< 18.5 kg/m2 [91.7%, n = 11], 18.5 kg/m2 – 24.9 kg/m2 [81.3%, n = 26], 25 kg/m2 – 29.9 kg/m2 [64.3%, n = 9], ≥ 30 kg/m2 [0.0%, n =0] [p = 0.00]), only noted between the ≥ 30 kg/m2 BMI group and remainder of BMI groups on pairwise comparison. The median SMI L3 in men was 43.1 cm2/m2 (interquartile range [IQR]: 13.6 cm2/m2) whilst the median SMI L3 in women was 40.3 cm2/m2 (IQR: 11.5 cm2/m2). No statistically significant difference in sarcopenia prevalence was demonstrated according to age group, ethnicity, stage and histology.

Conclusion: There was a high overall prevalence of sarcopenia, as determined by CT, amongst NSCLC patients in a South African setting. The differences based on gender and BMI indicate potential avenues for future research.

 


Keywords

sarcopenia; non-small cell lung cancer; skeletal muscle index; cancer cachexia; CT assessment of sarcopenia

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