Why is body composition analysis an effective tool for cancer treatment?
InBody devices provide a quick, easy, non-invasive, and precise method for assessing health risks and the effects of interventions. In less than 60 seconds, the InBody Test can be used to:
- Monitor changes in body composition to improve patient outcomes and quality of life
- Assess cellular integrity to evaluate malnutrition risk
- Identify fluid imbalances and risk of lymphedema for earlier intervention
Set strategies to promote muscle maintenance
Disease onset, progression, and treatment can cause changes in body composition despite weight maintenance, which would be overlooked by BMI. Assessing muscle-fat balance allows medical professionals to monitor the effects of treatment to prevent worsening outcomes. Compared to cancer patients with high skeletal muscle index (SMI), Sugimara et al. (2022) found that patients with low SMI had significantly poorer survival. Because of this, it is especially important to track changes in body composition as cancer patients often face muscle loss, fat gain, or a combination of these factors. When these occur simultaneously, weight may not change significantly, making BMI a poor indicator of physiological change.
Severe muscle loss and function are often associated with adverse outcomes and decreased survival (Qin et al. 2022). In their 2022 study evaluating sarcopenia in myeloid leukemia patients, Qin et al. found that the weight reduction following chemotherapy was mainly due to loss of muscle mass and water content. Intracellular water, the potassium-rich fluid in muscle, and arm circumference had a significant association with the incidence of sarcopenia. By monitoring objective measures of muscle, fat, and water, medical professionals can assess physiological changes and symptoms associated with malnutrition and cancer cachexia.
WHOLE BODY PHASE ANGLE
Track effect of immunotherapies by monitoring cell health
Cancer and cancer treatments cause damage to cells, compromising immune function and reducing cellular integrity. By tracking phase angle, oncologists can monitor the cellular health of patients for earlier detection of symptoms/disease progression.
Phase angle, a measure of how the cells respond to the electrical currents used to measure body composition, reflects cell membrane integrity and has been linked to survival in various oncological populations, as shown in Hui, D. et al., 2017 for patients with advanced cancer (p=0.048). When cells are healthy, they can better resist these currents utilized by the InBody, resulting in a higher phase angle. Because cancer and various treatment modalities cause damage to the cells before the loss of muscle and fat mass, this decrease in phase angle can be linked to cancer-cachexia-related malnutrition and other medical risks/conditions. By monitoring segmental and whole-body phase angles, oncologists can pinpoint the risk of specific comorbidities, track the effects of immunotherapies more precisely, and provide earlier intervention strategies to prevent disease progression. Hui et al. (2017), declared InBody as an “objective, the non-invasive and relatively inexpensive prognostic tool may be useful to support clinical decision making.”
WHOLE BODY AND SEGMENTAL ECW/TBW WATER ANALYSIS
Identify localized fluid to detect cancer-related circulation issues
Cancer leads to muscle loss and compromises organs and cellular functions that can lead to systemic inflammation or edema. InBody’s technology can precisely track fluid changes across the body to understand the cause of imbalanced fluid levels.
InBody effectively distinguishes water in the intracellular (ICW; within the tissues) and extracellular (ECW; within the blood and interstitial fluids) compartments that make up total body water (TBW). The Edema Index, based on the ratio between ECW and TBW (ECW/TBW), can be used to distinguish fluid imbalances resulting from malnutrition or edema. Managing increases in Edema Index is a priority for improving patient outcomes.
Due to the high-water content of muscles, loss of muscle mass causes a reduction in ICW and results in an increased Edema Index. Thus, the Edema Index can be used to identify malnutrition separately from other disease-related fluid imbalances. Since cancer symptoms are associated with increased systemic inflammation, progressing fluid imbalances are linked to poor patient outcomes. Lymphedema is a common side effect of cancer treatment. Uncontrolled lymphedema can cause physical impairments like diminished strength and function that may extend to emotional effects like anxiety, fear, and decreased self-confidence. Because of this and other comorbidities like renal or cardiac dysfunction, early detection and intensive treatment are essential. Cho et al. in their 2020 Frontiers in Oncology publication found InBody “easy to implement” as it allows for “indirect quantification of extracellular fluid.” by using Edema Index. Compared to standard measures of lymphedema, they found InBody significantly correlated and can therefore be a “practical tool in monitoring outcome measure after lymphedema treatment.” Beyond that, InBody is “more sensitive to subtle changes in lymphedema and can be used for long-term maintenance of lymphedema”.
InBody simplifies the lymphedema screening process because ECW analysis can “predict the presence of unilateral or bilateral leg lymphedema in a single measurement (Yasunaga et al. 2021)” without the need for other references, making it easy to use for both patient and clinician.