Body mass index at diagnosis of a childhood brain tumor; a reflection of hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction or lifestyle?

I. M.A.A. van Roessel, J. van Schaik, A. Y.N.Schouten van Meeteren, A. M. Boot, H. L.Claahsen van der Grinten, S. C. Clement, L. van Iersel, K. S. Han, A. S.P. van Trotsenburg, W. P. Vandertop, L. C.M. Kremer, H. M. van Santen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Childhood brain tumor survivors (CBTS) are at risk of becoming overweight, which has been shown to be associated with hypothalamic-pituitary (HP) dysfunction during follow-up. Body mass index (BMI) at diagnosis is related to BMI at follow-up. It is uncertain, however, whether aberrant BMI at brain tumor diagnosis reflects early hypothalamic dysfunction or rather reflects genetic and sociodemographic characteristics. We aimed to examine whether BMI at childhood brain tumor diagnosis is associated with HP dysfunction at diagnosis or its development during follow-up. Methods: The association of BMI at diagnosis of a childhood brain tumor to HP dysfunction at diagnosis or during follow-up was examined in a Dutch cohort of 685 CBTS, excluding children with craniopharyngioma or a pituitary tumor. Individual patient data were retrospectively extracted from patient charts. Results: Of 685 CTBS, 4.7% were underweight, 14.2% were overweight, and 3.8% were obese at diagnosis. Being overweight or obese at diagnosis was not associated with anterior pituitary deficiency or diabetes insipidus at diagnosis or during follow-up. In children with suprasellar tumors, being obese at diagnosis was associated with central precocious puberty. Conclusion: Overweight or obesity at diagnosis of a childhood brain tumor seems not to be associated with pituitary deficiencies. These results suggest that genetics and lifestyle may be more important etiologic factors for higher BMI at diagnosis in these children than hypothalamic dysfunction. To improve the long-term outcome of CBTS with regards to overweight and obesity, more attention should be given to lifestyle already at the time of brain tumor treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6093-6102
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

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