Background: How obesity has an impact on operative and oncologic outcomes for gastric cancer patients is unclear, and the influence of obesity on response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) has not been evaluated. Methods: Patients who underwent curative gastrectomy for primary gastric cancer between 2000 and 2018 were retrospectively identified. After stratification for NAC, operative morbidity, mortality, overall survival (OS), and disease-specific survival (DSS) were compared among three body mass index (BMI) categories: normal BMI (< 25 kg/m2), mild obesity (25–35 kg/m2), and severe obesity (≥ 35 kg/m2). Results: During the study period, 984 patients underwent upfront surgery, and 484 patients received NAC. Tumor stage did not differ among the BMI groups. However, the rates of pathologic response to NAC were significantly lower for the patients with severe obesity (10% vs 40%; p < 0.001). Overall complications were more frequent among the obese patients (44.3% for obese vs 24.9% for normal BMI, p < 0.001). Intraabdominal infections were also more frequent in obese patients (13.9% for obese vs 4.7% for normal BMI, p = 0.001). In the upfront surgery cohort, according to the BMI, OS and DSS did not differ, whereas in the NAC cohort, severe obesity was independently associated with worse OS [hazard ratio (HR) 1.87; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–3.48; p = 0.047] and disease-specific survival (DSS) (HR 2.08; 95% CI 1.07–4.05; p = 0.031). Conclusion: For the gastric cancer patients undergoing curative gastrectomy, obesity was associated with significantly lower rates of pathologic response to NAC and more postoperative complications, as well as shorter OS and DSS for the patients receiving NAC.
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