Body mass index and total symptom burden in myeloproliferative neoplasms discovery of a U-shaped association

Sarah Friis Christensen, Robyn Marie Scherber, Nana Brochmann, Martin Goros, Jonathan Gelfond, Christen Lykkegaard Andersen, Esben Meulengracht Flachs, Ruben Mesa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Elevated body mass index (BMI) is a global health problem, leading to enhanced mortality and the increased risk of several cancers including essential thrombocythemia (ET), a subtype of the Philadelphia-chromosome negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Furthermore, evidence states that BMI is associated with the severity of symptom burden among cancer patients. MPN patients often suffer from severe symptom burden. The purpose of this study was to examine whether deviations from a normal BMI in an MPN population are associated with higher symptom burden and reduced quality of life (QoL). A combined analysis of two large cross-sectional surveys, the Danish Population-based Study, MPNhealthSurvey (n = 2044), and the international Fatigue Study (n = 1070), was performed. Symptoms and QoL were assessed using the validated Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Symptom Assessment Form (MPN-SAF). Analysis of covariance was used to estimate the effects of different BMI categories on symptom scores while adjusting for age, sex, and MPN subtype. A U-shaped association between BMI and Total Symptom Burden was observed in both datasets with significantly higher mean scores for underweight and obese patients relative to normal weight (mean difference: underweight 5.51 (25.8%), p = 0.006; obese 5.70 (26.6%) p < 0.001). This is an important finding, as BMI is a potentially modifiable factor in the care of MPN patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2202
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Body mass index
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN)
  • Quality of life
  • Symptom burden

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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