Article Abstract

Impact of sarcopenia in borderline resectable and locally advanced pancreatic cancer patients receiving stereotactic body radiation therapy

Authors: William H. Jin, Eric A. Mellon, Jessica M. Frakes, Gilbert Z. Murimwa, Pamela J. Hodul, Jose M. Pimiento, Mokenge P. Malafa, Sarah E. Hoffe


Background: Total psoas area (TPA), a marker of sarcopenia, has been used as an independent predictor of clinical outcomes in gastrointestinal (GI) cancers as a proxy for frailty and nutritional status. Our study aimed to evaluate whether TPA, in contrast to traditional measurements of nutrition like body mass index (BMI) and body surface area (BSA), was predictive of outcomes in borderline resectable pancreatic cancer (BRPC) and locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC) patients receiving stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).
Methods: Retrospective analysis of an institutional review board approved database of 222 BRPC and LAPC treated with SBRT from 2009–2016 yielded 183 patients that met our selection criteria of pre- SBRT computed tomography (CT) imaging with an identifiable L4 vertebra. Once the L4 vertebral level was identified, the bilateral psoas muscles were manually contoured. This area was normalized by patient height, with units described in mm2/m2. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated for TPA, BMI, and BSA to elicit clinically relevant cutoffs. Regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses were used to correlate toxicity with survival functions.
Results: Low TPA (OR =1.903, P=0.036) was predictive of acute toxicities, and only TPA was predictive of Grade 3 or higher acute toxicities (OR =10.24, P=0.007). Both findings were independent of tumor resectability. Pain (P=0.003), fatigue (P=0.040), and nausea (P=0.039) were significantly associated with low TPA. No association was identified between any measurement of nutritional status and the development of late toxicities, overall survival, local progression or local recurrence. However, BRPC patients survived longer (median =21.98 months) than their LAPC (median =16.2 months) counterparts (P=0.002), independent of nutritional status.
Conclusions: TPA measurement is readily available and more specific than BMI or BSA as a predictor of acute radiotoxic complications following SBRT in BRPC/LAPC patients. A TPA of <500 mm2/m2 is a clinically relevant cutoff that can direct physicians to address expected complications of pain, fatigue, and nausea. However, tumor resectability remains as the only predictor of overall survival in this cohort.