Skeletal Muscle Changes After Elective Colorectal Cancer Resection: A Longitudinal Study

George Malietzis, Andrew C. Currie, Neil Johns, Kenneth C. Fearon, Ara Darzi, Robin H. Kennedy, Thanos Athanasiou, John T. Jenkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Muscle depletion is a poor prognostic indicator in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, but there were no data assessing comparative temporal body composition changes following elective CRC surgery. We examined patient skeletal muscle index trajectories over time after surgery and determined factors that may contribute to those alterations.

Patients diagnosed with CRC undergoing elective surgical resection between 2006 and 2013 were included in this study. Image analysis of serial computed tomography (CT) scans was used to calculate lumbar skeletal muscle index (LSMI). A multilevel mixed-effect linear regression model was applied using STATA (version 12.0) using the xtmixed command to fit growth curve models (GCM) for LSMI and time.

In 856 patients, a total of 2136 CT images were analyzed; 856 (38.2 %) were preoperative. A quadratic GCM with random intercept and random slope for patients' LSMI was identified that demonstrated laparoscopy produces a positive change on the LSMI curve [estimate = 0.17 cm(2)/m(2), standard error (SE) 0.06 cm(2)/m(2); p = 0.03], whereas Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) stage III + IV disease contributed to a negative curve change (estimate = -0.19 cm(2)/m(2), SE 0.09 cm(2)/m(2); p = 0.03). Older age (p <0.01), female gender (p <0.01), higher American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score (p <0.01), and altered systemic inflammatory response [SIR] (p = 0.03) were factors significantly associated with lower values of LSMI over time.

In patients undergoing CRC surgery, laparoscopy and the absence of a significantly elevated SIR favored preservation and restoration of skeletal muscle, postoperatively. These emerging data may permit the development of new treatment protocols whereby monitoring and modification of body composition has therapeutic potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2539-2547
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number8
Early online date22 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • MASS


Dive into the research topics of 'Skeletal Muscle Changes After Elective Colorectal Cancer Resection: A Longitudinal Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this