Both in-person and telephone counseling were effective weight loss strategies in breast cancer survivors and resulted in favorable effects on C-reactive protein levels, a new study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has shown.1

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of death in patients with breast cancer. The standard strategy for weight-loss is in-person counseling, but researchers sought to determine if telephone weight loss counseling is feasible and effective compared with in-person counseling and usual care.

For the study, researchers enrolled 100 breast cancer survivors with a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 or higher. Of those, 51% had stage 1 disease.


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Participants were randomly assigned to receive in-person counseling, telephone counseling, or usual care. Weight loss counseling consisted of 11 30-minute counseling sessions over 6 months. Counseling sessions focused on reducing caloric intake, increasing physical activity, and behavioral therapy.

Results showed that average 6-month weight loss was 6.4%, 5.4%, and 2.0% in the in-person, telephone, and usual care groups, respectively.

There was no significant difference between in-person and telephone counseling (P=.46), but weight loss was significantly improved between in-person counseling and usual care (P=.004) and telephone counseling and usual care (P=.009).

Researchers also observed a significant 30% reduction in C-reactive protein levels among participants to the weight loss intervention groups compared with a 1% reduction among those randomly assigned to usual care (P=.05).

“Our findings may help guide the incorporation of weight loss counseling into breast cancer treatment and care,” the authors conclude.

Reference

1. Harrigan M, Cartmel B, Loftfield E, et al. Randomized trial comparing telephone versus in-person weight loss counseling on body composition and circulating biomarkers in women treated for breast cancer: The Lifestyle, Exercise, and Nutrition (LEAN) study [published online ahead of print November 23, 2015]. J Clin Oncol. doi:10.1200/JCO.2015.61.6375.