Obesity in adult survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A report from the childhood cancer survivor study

Kevin C. Oeffinger, Ann C. Mertens, Charles A. Sklar, Yutaka Yasui, Thomas Fears, Marilyn Stovall, Terry A. Vik, Peter D. Inskip, Leslie L. Robison

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326 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether adult survivors (≥ 18 years of age) of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are at increased risk for obesity and to assess patient and treatment variables that influence risk. Patients and Methods: A retrospective cohort of participants of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study was used to compare 1,765 adult survivors of childhood ALL to 2,565 adult siblings of childhood cancer survivors. Body-mass index (BMI; kilograms per square meter), calculated from self-reported heights and weights, was used to determine the prevalence of being overweight (BMI, 25-29.9) or obese (BMI ≥ 30.0). Polytomous logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for being overweight or obese among ALL survivors relative to the sibling control group. Results: The age- and race-adjusted OR for being obese in survivors treated with cranial radiation doses ≥ 20 Gy in comparison with siblings was 2.59 for females (95% CI, 1.88 to 3.55; P < .001) and 1.86 for males (95% CI, 1.33 to 2.57; P < .001). The OR for obesity was greatest among females diagnosed at 0 to 4 years of age and treated with radiation doses ≥ 20 Gy (OR, 3.81; 95% CI, 2.34 to 5.99; P < .001). Obesity was not associated with treatment consisting of chemotherapy only or with cranial radiation doses of 10 to 19 Gy. Conclusion: Cranial radiotherapy ≥ 20 Gy is associated with an increased prevalence of obesity, especially in females treated at a young age. It is imperative that Healthcare professionals recognize this risk and develop strategies to enhance weight control and encourage longitudinal follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1359-1365
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Oeffinger, K. C., Mertens, A. C., Sklar, C. A., Yasui, Y., Fears, T., Stovall, M., Vik, T. A., Inskip, P. D., & Robison, L. L. (2003). Obesity in adult survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A report from the childhood cancer survivor study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 21(7), 1359-1365. https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2003.06.131