Association Between Sarcopenia and Metabolic Syndrome in Cancer Survivors

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Advanced cancer treatments have improved survival from cancer, but the incidence of cardiovascular disease in survivors has recently increased. Sarcopenia and metabolic syndrome (MetS) are related to cancer survival, and sarcopenia is an emerging risk factor for cardiovascular disease. However, evidence of a relationship between sarcopenia and MetS in cancer survivors is lacking.


The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of sarcopenia and MetS in cancer survivors and to investigate independent predictors of MetS in cancer survivors.


From the fourth and fifth Korea National Health and Nutritional Exam Survey (2008–2011), 798 consecutive cancer survivors were analyzed. Sarcopenia was defined as the appendicular skeletal muscle mass divided by weight less than 1 SD below the sex-specific healthy population aged 20 to 39 years. Metabolic syndrome was defined using the National Cholesterol Education Program definition.


Among 798 cancer survivors, the prevalence rates of sarcopenia and MetS were 23.1% and 30.0%, respectively. Survivors with sarcopenia were more likely to have a higher waist circumference, body mass index, triglyceride level, and blood pressure and to have a lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level compared with those without sarcopenia. In multivariable analysis, sarcopenia was an independent predictor of MetS (odds ratio, 2.76; 95% confidence interval, 1.92–3.97). In addition, age and type of cancer were independent predictors of MetS.


Sarcopenia was associated with an increased prevalence of MetS in cancer survivors.

Implications for Practice:

Interventions to prevent sarcopenia may be necessary to improve cardiovascular outcome in cancer survivors.

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