MAR 06, 2019 4:16 PM PST

Benefits of a Strong Body

WRITTEN BY: Nicholas Breehl

As far back as Ancient Greece, a sculptured physique has been heralded as the pinnacle of physical perfection. But now, researchers from Japan have found that increased muscle mass doesn't just make you look good; it could save your life.

In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers from Osaka University have revealed that sarcopenia, or the loss of skeletal muscle mass, is significantly associated with an inadequate response to treatments for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

These treatments, known as programmed death (PD)-1 inhibitors, are an exciting new class of drugs used to fight many different types of cancer, including NSCLC. They work with the patient's immune system, increasing its ability to attack cancer cells. Unsurprisingly, the efficacy of PD-1 inhibitors relies heavily on the function of the host's immune system. At present, only a subset of patients achieves good long-term progression-free survival rates, something the researchers at Osaka University aimed to address.

"Sarcopenia is a well-known risk factor associated with poor outcomes for several cancer types," says the lead author of the study, Takayuki Shiroyama. "Because muscle degradation is associated with a dysregulated immune response, we wanted to investigate how, in lung cancer patients, sarcopenia impacts the efficacy of PD-1 inhibitor therapy."

To do this, the researchers examined the medical records and treatment outcomes of 42 patients with advanced NSCLC who were treated with PD-1 inhibitors. Only patients who had undergone an assessment of skeletal muscle mass before treatment were included in the analysis.

"The results were surprisingly emphatic," explains Atsushi Kumanogoh, senior author of the study. "We found that the treatment outcomes for patients with sarcopenia at the start of therapy were far worse than those without."

While 38.1% of non-sarcopenia patients remained in remission one year after treatment, only 10.1% of sarcopenia patients showed no sign of tumor progression at the same time point. "Our findings suggest that baseline skeletal muscle mass has a substantial impact on PD-1 inhibitor efficacy. As such, skeletal muscle mass might be useful for predicting whether treatment is likely to be effective," says Shiroyama.

Given that muscle wasting is a common occurrence in patients with advanced cancer, several new drugs that can increase skeletal muscle mass in cancer patients could be vitally important for future treatment strategies. By increasing muscle mass before treatment, a higher number of patients are likely to achieve optimal long-term treatment outcomes from PD-1-inhibitor therapy.

Sources: Science Daily, Scientific Reports, YouTube

About the Author
You May Also Like
DEC 05, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 05, 2019
New Injection that Treats Peanut Allergy
Peanut allergies affect between 1 and 3% of the US population. Associated with a heightened risk of severe anaphylactic reactions, oral immunotherapy is th...
JAN 19, 2020
Immunology
JAN 19, 2020
Overactive Immune Gene May Cause Schizophrenia
A windy road links excessive activity of the “C4” gene to the development of schizophrenia. Researchers begin to study C4 activity as part of n...
FEB 13, 2020
Cancer
FEB 13, 2020
Can Ebola help treat glioblastomas?
You might want to sit down for this. New research published in the Journal of Virology has named a surprising new ally to brain tumors: Ebola. Yes, yo...
FEB 19, 2020
Immunology
FEB 19, 2020
Rainbow trout hold the key to unravelling immunological mysteries
What do the gut microbiome, antibodies, and rainbow trout have in common? A lot, says researcher J. Oriol Sunyer from the University of Pennsylvania’...
FEB 26, 2020
Neuroscience
FEB 26, 2020
Immunotherapy Could Be Used to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
Video:  Further explaination of microglia and their various functions.  Traumatic Brain Injuries are physical injuries to the brain which cause i...
MAR 17, 2020
Immunology
MAR 17, 2020
What's the deal with SARS-CoV-2's spike protein?
Structurally, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) are spherical shells consisting of a lipid membrane, with a core containing the virus’ gene...
Loading Comments...