Breast cancer, exercise and weight loss

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Published: 16 Dec 2011
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Dr Jennifer Ligibel - Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA

Dr Jennifer Ligibel discusses the LISA trial (Lifestyle Intervention Study for Adjuvant Treatment of Early Breast Cancer). This study randomised 338 postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to an educational control group or to a two-year, telephone-based weight-loss intervention.

The weight loss intervention focused on calorie restriction, a low-fat diet, and increased physical activity. Participants randomised to the intervention received 19 telephone calls, as well as mailings and a participant manual. Intervention participants were found to do more vigorous exercise and lost approximately 4.5 kg more weight than the control group at 6, 12, and 18 months. The results of the LISA trial will serve as the basis of a large study that looks at lifestyle intervention and its impact on breast cancer outcomes in women who are obese.

2011 SABCS, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, 6-10 December, San Antonio, USA


Breast cancer, exercise and weight loss


Dr Jennifer Ligibel – Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA


We are presenting data from the LISA study; this was a study that looked at weight loss in postmenopausal women being treated with an aromatase inhibitor diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. The study enrolled 338 women across Canada and the United States, the PI was Pamela Goodwin and it was run through the Ontario Co-operative Oncology Group. The study reported its main endpoints in June at ASCO; the study was looking at a weight loss intervention in these women, it randomised them to that versus a control group. The study was initially designed to look at the impact of weight loss on disease recurrence in these women but, due to some funding issues, we had a much smaller sample size and so we looked at weight loss in June and showed that the intervention did help women lose weight, there was a significantly higher weight loss in our intervention group versus controls through our follow-up period that we were able to look at in June. We’ll have some longer-term follow-up data, hopefully, within the next couple of months for our weight loss.


At this conference we’re presenting data looking at the physical activity that women did. There have been studies before that have looked at these types of interventions, ours was delivered completely by telephone, on changes in diet but there has really been a lot less information about the ability to get women to exercise more through telephone based interventions. So we really wanted to see whether the women were exercising more on the intervention group in our study, and we found that they were, that they were engaging in more minutes of activity every week, they were doing more vigorous activity and we would be interested in looking at how the activity relates to the weight loss that women had over time, we haven’t done that analysis yet.


How many were in the control group?


It was 338 women and they were evenly divided between the control group and the telephone based weight loss intervention. We used a questionnaire that women filled out at baseline, at six months, twelve months, every time they came in for follow-up and we looked at the amount of exercise women were doing in both groups. For the control group we found that it was pretty flat from where they started, they didn’t really make a lot of changes, and we saw increases over time in our intervention group.


This serves as a really good pilot, that this type of an intervention can successfully help women lose weight, exercise more, we’ll be looking at the dietary changes over the next few months as well. We’re really hoping to use this to build a bigger study where we’ll be able to see whether losing weight makes a difference in the risks of recurrence because we know from a lot of observational studies that women who are heavier when they’re diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of cancer recurrence. So we’re interested in trying to develop a study to test whether helping women lose weight after breast cancer diagnosis helps lower that risk of recurrence.