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William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP, FASCO


ESMO 2023: Telephone-Based Weight Loss Program for Breast Cancer–Related Fatigue

By: Julia Fiederlein Cipriano, MS
Posted: Monday, October 23, 2023

According to Ines V. Vaz Luis, MD, PhD, MSc, of the Institute Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France, and colleagues, adding a telephone-based weight loss intervention to standard health education did not significantly improve cancer-related fatigue in overweight and obese survivors of early-stage breast cancer after 12 months. However, the results of the French multicenter MEDEA trial, which were presented during the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2023 (Abstract 2031O), revealed significant weight loss in this population.

A total of 220 patients (mean age, 53.8 years; mean weight, 83.6 kg) with stage II to III disease and a body mass index of at least 25 kg/m2 who were within 12 months of primary treatment were randomly assigned to receive health education with or without a 12-month telephone-based weight loss program. The intervention was adapted from the North American BWEL trial and was considered completed if at least 16 of the 24 semistructured calls were delivered.

At randomization, the mean cancer-related fatigue scores were found to be similar between the arms (40.2 vs. 40.2). The cancer-related fatigue scores were reduced by a mean of 7.8 and 2.0 points in patients who were and were not assigned to the telephone-based intervention, respectively, after 12 months; there was an estimated 5.9-point difference between the arms (P = .11). At this timepoint, both the mean (6.7 vs. 1.1 kg) weight loss and proportional (10% vs. 1%) weight loss were higher with than without the telephone-based intervention. There did not appear to be any detrimental effect on other quality-of-life domains. According to the investigators, satisfaction and adherence to the telephone-based intervention were high; a total of 75% of patients completed the course.

“These results suggest a North American weight loss intervention was adaptable and could be disseminated in a different language and cultural context,” the investigators concluded.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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