Purpose: Sarcopenia is a syndrome that is defined by the loss of skeletal muscle mass, quality, and strength. In adult patients with malignancies, the presence of sarcopenia is known to be correlated with a poor prognosis; however, there have been no reports on the influence of sarcopenia on malignant tumors in pediatric patients. In the present study, we investigated whether or not sarcopenia affects the prognosis of high-risk neuroblastoma. Materials and methods: Thirteen patients with high-risk neuroblastoma who were treated according to the standard protocol at our hospital from 2007 to 2016 were divided into a progression-free survival group (n = 8) and a relapse/death group (n = 5). The rate of change in sarcopenia was calculated by comparing the psoas muscle area (PMA) of the L3-level lumbar spine on computed tomography before and after treatment with the standard protocol. The rate of change in the PMA, Kaup index, and serum albumin level were compared. Furthermore, we determined the cutoff rate of change in the PMA and compared the overall and progression-free survival. Results: The rates of change in the PMA were 1.24 and 0.84 in the progression-free survival and relapse/death groups, respectively (P = 0.0472). There were no significant differences in the rates of change in the Kaup index or the serum albumin level of the two groups. The patients whose rate of change in the PMA was >1.00 showed a prolonged overall (P = 0.0078) and progression-free survival (P = 0.006). Conclusions: A decrease in the skeletal muscle mass was suggested to be a significant prognostic factor for high-risk neuroblastoma.
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