Background Low muscle mass (LMM) and low muscle attenuation (LMA) reflect low muscle quantity and low muscle quality, respectively. Both are associated with a poor outcome in several types of solid malignancies. This study determined the association of skeletal muscle measures with overall survival (OS) and time to next treatment (TNT). Patients and methods A skeletal muscle index (SMI) in cm2/m2 and muscle attenuation (MA) in Hounsfield units (HU) were measured using abdominal CT-images of 166 patients before start of first-line chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer. Low muscle mass (SMI <41 cm2/m2), sarcopenic obesity (LMM and BMI ≥30 kg/m2) and low muscle attenuation (MA <41 HU and BMI <25 kg/m2 or MA <33 HU and BMI ≥25 kg/m2) were related to OS and TNT. Results The prevalence of LMM, sarcopenic obesity and LMA were 66.9%, 7.2% and 59.6% respectively. LMM and sarcopenic obesity showed no significant association with OS and TNT, whereas LMA was associated with both lower OS (HR 2.04, 95% CI 1.34–3.12, p = 0.001) and shorter TNT (HR 1.72, 95% CI 1.14–2.62, p = 0.010). Patients with LMA had a median OS and TNT of 15 and 8 months respectively, compared to 23 and 10 months in patients with normal MA. Conclusion LMA is a prognostic factor for OS and TNT in metastatic breast cancer patients receiving first-line palliative chemotherapy, whereas LMM and sarcopenic obesity are not. Further research is needed to establish what impact LMA should have in daily clinical practice.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Breast cancer, Muscle attenuation, Muscle mass, Overall survival, Sarcopenia
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2016.10.014, hdl.handle.net/1765/94221
Journal The Breast
Citation
Rier, H.N. (Hánah N.), Jäger, A, Sleijfer, S, van Rosmalen, J.M, Kock, M.C.J.M, & Levin, M.-D. (2017). Low muscle attenuation is a prognostic factor for survival in metastatic breast cancer patients treated with first line palliative chemotherapy. The Breast, 31, 9–15. doi:10.1016/j.breast.2016.10.014