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William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP, FASCO


ASCO 2023: Can a Telephone-Based Intervention Influence Weight Loss in Patients With Early-Stage Breast Cancer?

By: Julia Fiederlein Cipriano
Posted: Friday, May 26, 2023

Adding a telephone-based weight loss intervention to standard health education induced significant weight loss in patients with overweight and obesity who had early-stage breast cancer, according to Jennifer Ligibel, MD, FASCO, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, and colleagues. The results of the BWEL trial, which were presented during a press briefing before the 2023 American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting (Abstract 12001), shed light on a potential avenue for improving the prognosis of this population.

“We found the weight loss program was highly successful in helping patients lower their weight,” said Dr. Ligibel in a Dana-Farber press release.

A total of 3,181 patients who were within 14 months of diagnosis of stage II to III HER2-negative breast cancer were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive health education with or without telephone-based weight loss coaching focused on caloric restriction and increased exercise. At baseline, the mean body mass index was 34.5 kg/m2. Follow-up weight data were available for 2,293 patients who were alive and disease-free at 12 months.

Patients who were assigned to the weight loss intervention lost an average of 4.8% of their baseline body weight after 12 months, whereas those who were not provided this health coaching demonstrated a weight gain of 0.8% (P < .0001). Significant weight loss was reported among patients who were assigned to the weight loss intervention, relative to their counterparts, across demographic and tumor factors. The effects of the weight loss intervention seemed to significantly differ by menopausal status (interaction, P = .0057) and race/ethnicity (interaction, P = .019); however, this did not appear to hold true for hormone receptor status (interaction, P = .17).

“Additional tailoring of the weight loss intervention could be useful to enhance weight loss in Black and younger patients,” the investigators concluded. “Further follow-up of the BWEL trial will evaluate whether the weight loss intervention improves disease outcomes.”

Disclosure: Dr. Ligibel reported no conflicts of interest. For full disclosures of the other study authors, visit

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