BEING overweight could actually help people battle cancer, according to a new study.
Although a high body mass index (BMI) is linked to cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular and other diseases, it seems it is not always bad to be fat.
Obese cancer patients responded better with the drug atezolizumab than thinner sufferers.
Atezolizumab is a common immunotherapy treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Lead investigator Dr Ganessan Kichenadasse, a medical oncology researcher, said: “This is an interesting outcome and it raises the potential to investigate further with other cancers and other anti-cancer drugs.
“We need to do further studies into the possible link between BMI and related inflammation, which might help to understand the mechanisms behind paradoxical response to this form of cancer treatment.”
Of the 1,434 participants studied, 49 per cent were normal weight, 34 per cent were overweight and seven per cent were obese.
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Patients with high BMI did significantly better.
Dr Kichenadasse added: “While our study only looked at baseline and during treatment, we believe it warrants more studies into the potentially protective role of high BMI in other cancer treatments.”
The WHO estimates at least 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese.