MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Charnita Zeigler-Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Division of Population Sciences
Department of Medical Oncology
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Zeigler-Johnson: Obesity has been associated with poor prostate cancer outcomes, included advanced disease at diagnosis, increased risk for cancer recurrence, and risk for mortality. One possible link in the relationship between obesity and prostate cancer progression is inflammation. Obesity produces a state of systemic chronic low-grade inflammation which may contribute to the underlying biology of the tumor microenvironment. The presence of immune cells (T-cells and macrophages) in the tumor microenvironment may indicate aggressive tumors that are likely to metastasize. The goal of this study was to examine prostate cancer tissue to characterize differences in immune cells within the tumor microenvironment by obesity status and cancer severity. We studied tumor samples from 63 non-obese and 36 obese prostate cancer patients.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Zeigler-Johnson: We found that T-cell and macrophage counts in the tumor did not differ by patient obesity status. However, macrophage (CD68) counts were higher among men diagnosed with higher tumor grade (Gleason Score 7-10). We also found that T-cell (CD8) counts were associated with quicker time to prostate cancer recurrence (indicated by detectable prostate specific antigen levels after treatment.)
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Zeigler-Johnson: Tumor inflammation appears to be a factor in prostate cancer progression. Immune cell counts alone do not differ by obesity. It is possible that other characteristics of these immune cells differ by patient obesity status, so additional research in this area is needed. Understanding how obesity moderates prostate cancer outcomes will help clarify patient populations that may benefit the most from weight management, physical activity, and immunotherapy after a prostate cancer diagnosis.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Zeigler-Johnson: Future research should confirm these findings in other patient populations and investigate other factors of the tumor microenvironment that may differ by obesity.
The role of obesity on inflammation markers in the prostate tumor microenvironment
Charnita M. Zeigler-Johnson1, Knashawn H. Morales2, Priti Lal2, Timothy R. Rebbeck3, Michael Feldman2. 1Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA; 2University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; 3Harvard University, Philadelphia, PA
AACR Abstract Sunday, Apr 17, 2016, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM