To estimate the relationship between the visceral adipose tissue (AT) area and cancer cachexia, 13 cachectic patients (7 males, 6 females; age 65.2 ± 11.0 years; body mass index 20.8 ± 4.1 kg/m2) were examined by computed tomography (CT) scanning. Cachectic cancer patients who had a 10% decrease of body weight and died within 6 months because of gastrointestinal carcinoma had a significantly smaller visceral AT area than control subjects (mean ± sd: 43.9 ± 42.2 cm2 vs. 93.4 ± 56.0 cm2, P < 0.05, P=0.014). Otherwise, there were no significant differences between the visceral AT areas of cachectic cancer patients and those of cancer patients with resectable tumors treated by curative operation (mean ± sd: 68.8 ± 57.7 cm2) (NS, P=0.206). There was, however, a tendency for cachectic cancer patients to have a smaller visceral AT area than those with resectable tumors. This result suggests that the visceral AT area is not preserved in the cachectic state associated with cancer. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
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