Sarcopenia and mortality in cancer: A meta-analysis

Philip Chun-Ming Au, Hang-Long Li, Grace Koon-Yee Lee, Gloria Hoi-Yee Li, Marcus Chan, Bernard Man-Yung Cheung, Ian Chi-Kei Wong, Victor Ho-Fun Lee, James Mok, Benjamin Hon-Kei Yip, Kenneth King-Yip Cheng, Chih-Hsing Wu, Ching-Lung Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The aim of this meta-analysis is to comprehensively evaluate the effects of lean mass on all-cause mortality across different cancer types. This is a meta-analysis. Cohort studies on lean mass and mortality published before December 20, 2017 were obtained by systematic search on PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Embase. Inclusion criteria were cohort studies reporting lean mass measurements by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, bioimpedance analysis or computed tomography, and with all-cause mortality as the study outcome. Exclusion criteria were studies using muscle mass surrogates, anthropometric measurement of muscle, rate of change in muscle mass, and sarcopenia defined by composite criteria. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of low/reduced lean mass on cancer mortality were pooled with a random-effects model. Subgroup analysis stratifying studies according to cancer type and measurement index was performed. Altogether 100 studies evaluated the association between lean mass and cancer mortality. The overall pooled HR on cancer mortality was 1.41 (95% CI, 1.24 to 1.59) for every standard deviation decrease in lean mass and 1.69 (95% CI, 1.56 to 1.83) for patients with sarcopenia (binary cutoffs). Overall mortality was also significantly associated with sarcopenia in across various cancer types, except for hematopoietic, breast, ovarian and endometrial, and prostate cancer. The robust association of decreased lean mass with increased mortality further justified the importance of developing clinical guidelines for managing sarcopenia in cancer patients. Public health initiatives aiming at promoting awareness of muscle health in susceptible individuals are urgently needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S28-S33
JournalOsteoporosis and Sarcopenia
Issue numberSuppl 1
Early online date30 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Sarcopenia
  • Lean mass
  • Cancer
  • Original


Dive into the research topics of 'Sarcopenia and mortality in cancer: A meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this