The link between obesity and the risk of endometrial cancer has been well documented. A recent study, however, showed that an even lower body mass index (BMI) than previously thought may be associated with an increased risk in Asian women with postmenopausal bleeding. The findings by Liu et al were published in Menopause.
Endometrial cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in women worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer death. Because there is currently no routine screening for endometrial cancer in asymptomatic women, it is important for health-care professionals to be aware of added risk factors so they can effectively intervene.
In this study, researchers using the Asian BMI standard for obesity (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) sought to determine the relationship between BMI and a subsequent diagnosis of endometrial cancer in Asian women. The threshold for being defined as obese in Asian women is lower than that used for classifying White women. Because roughly 90% of postmenopausal women with endometrial cancer have postmenopausal bleeding, the study specifically looked at women who had experienced postmenopausal bleeding.
On the basis of the results of the study, the researchers concluded that Asian women with a BMI of more than 25 kg/m2 were 1.57 times (57%) more likely to develop endometrial cancer. Such results should alert health-care professionals to be especially vigilant when treating Asian women with postmenopausal bleeding who are obese.
“This study highlights the known relationship between BMI and endometrial cancer and suggests that the Asian BMI standard for obesity (≥ 25 kg/m2) helps to identify endometrial cancer in Asian women with postmenopausal bleeding. Key takeaways are that all women with postmenopausal bleeding should undergo evaluation, and obesity remains an important and modifiable risk factor for endometrial cancer, with a linear relationship between BMI and endometrial cancer risk,” said Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, Medical Director of the North American Menopause Society.
Fangzi Liu, MBChB, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong, is the corresponding author of the Menopause article.
Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/.The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.