Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 2313–2321 | Cite as

Sarcopenia in cancer survivors is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk

  • Su Jung Lee
  • Yoon Jin Park
  • Kathleen B. Cartmell
Original Article



The aim of this study was to assess the association between sarcopenia and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in cancer survivors.


We analyzed a consecutive series of 683 cancer survivors from the Korean National Health and Nutritional Exam Survey (2008–2011 years). Sarcopenia was defined as the appendicular skeletal muscle mass divided by weight (Kg) < 1 standard deviation below the sex-specific healthy population aged 20–39 years. CVD risks were assessed using the Framingham Risk Score (FRS), which were divided by tertile. Predictors of higher shift of FRS tertile by sex were calculated by stratified ordinal logistic regression analyses.


Proportions of sarcopenia were 24.2% in males and 22.5% in females. Sarcopenic survivors were more likely to have a higher body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure and fasting glucose level, and a lower high-density lipoprotein compared to those without sarcopenia. Sarcopenia was associated with a higher shift of FRS tertile (common odds ratio, 2.67; 95% confidence interval, 1.18–6.52, P < 0.001) in males. However, this association was not significant in female survivors.


Sarcopenia was associated with an increased CVD risk in Korean male cancer survivors. Interventions to prevent sarcopenia may be necessary to improve cardiovascular burden in cancer survivors.


Neoplasm Sarcopenia Cardiovascular disease Risk assessments Nutrition survey 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was conducted solely using a de-identified research dataset, with approval of exemption from review by the Institutional Board and Ethics Committee (IRB number 2017-23).

Informed consent

Informed consent was not required for this study, given the use of secondary data that contained no patient identifiers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Su Jung Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yoon Jin Park
    • 3
  • Kathleen B. Cartmell
    • 2
  1. 1.Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital Department of NursingHallym University CollegeChuncheon-siRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Medical University of South Carolina College of NursingCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.Republic of Korea Armed Forces Nursing AcademyDaejeonSouth Korea

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