ASCO: Phone-Based Coaching Helps Breast Cancer Patients Lose Weight

A telephone-based weight-loss coaching intervention can help overweight or obese patients with breast cancer lose weight, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from June 2 to 6 in Chicago.

As part of a phase III study to assess whether a structured weight-loss program can reduce cancer recurrence and mortality in breast cancer patients in the overweight or obese body mass index ranges, Jennifer A. Ligibel, M.D., from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues reported on the impact of the weight-loss intervention on weight change. The analysis included 3,181 patients diagnosed with stage II to III HER2-negative breast cancer in the past 14 months, with a body mass index ≥27 kg/m2 and who completed chemotherapy and/or radiation. The intervention included telephone-based health coaching, with a focus on calorie restriction and increased exercise.

The researchers found that across all subgroups, patients in the intervention arm lost significantly more weight than patients in the control arm. On average, those in the intervention arm lost 4.8 percent of body weight at 12 months (non-Black, non-Hispanic: 5.4 percent; Hispanic: 3.2 percent; Black: 1.6 percent) versus an average gain of 0.9 percent of body weight in the control arm (non-Black/non-Hispanic: 0.7 percent; Hispanic: 1.0 percent; Black: 2.1 percent). The amount of weight loss varied by menopausal status and race/ethnicity, but not hormone receptor status. Postmenopausal patients in the weight-loss group lost more weight than premenopausal women in the weight-loss group.

“The next step will be to determine whether this weight loss translates into lower rates of cancer recurrence and mortality,” Ligibel said in a statement. “If our trial is successful in improving cancer outcomes, it will have far-reaching implications, demonstrating that weight loss should be incorporated into the standard of care for survivors of breast cancer.”

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