Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 186–195 | Cite as

Randomized trial of a clinic-based weight loss intervention in cancer survivors

  • Justin C. Brown
  • Rachel L. Yung
  • Anita Gobbie-Hurder
  • Laura Shockro
  • Keelin O’Connor
  • Nancy Campbell
  • Jocelyn Kasper
  • Erica L. Mayer
  • Sara M. Tolaney
  • Ann H. Partridge
  • Jennifer A. Ligibel



This trial examined the efficacy of a clinic-based weight loss intervention in cancer survivors.


This single-center phase II trial randomized survivors of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies to a 15-week group-based weight loss intervention that included caloric restriction and physical activity (n = 30) or a wait-list control intervention (n = 30). The primary study outcome was body mass. Secondary study outcomes included body composition using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, physical fitness using the 6-min walk test (6MWT), and concentrations of serum biomarkers.


Participants in the intervention group lost 5.6 ± 4.4% of baseline weight (4.6 ± 3.9 kg), whereas participants in the control group gained 0.2 ± 2.4% of baseline weight (0.2 ± 2.0 kg); intervention effect − 5.8% (95% CI − 7.8, − 3.8); − 4.8 kg (95% CI − 6.6, − 3.0); P = 0.0001. A larger proportion of participants in the intervention group lost ≥ 5% of baseline weight compared to the control group (43 vs 0%; P < 0.0001). The intervention led to reductions in fat mass (− 3.2 ± 0.7 kg; P < 0.0001), improvements in physical fitness (an increase of 22.6 ± 10.8 m on 6MWT; P = 0.03), and reductions in concentrations of insulin (− 7.7 ± 3.5 μU/mL; P = 0.004) and leptin (− 7.3 ± 4.0 ng/mL; P = 0.04).


A 15-week clinic-based weight loss intervention resulted in significant weight loss and improvements in body composition, physical fitness, and concentrations of serum biomarkers in cancer survivors.

Implications for cancer survivors

Weight loss programs provide a number of benefits for cancer survivors; survivors should inquire about the availability of lifestyle programs offered at their cancer center and within their local communities.


Body composition Body mass index Obesity Insulin Adipokines Inflammation Prognosis 



This study was supported by a grant from the Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin C. Brown
    • 1
  • Rachel L. Yung
    • 2
  • Anita Gobbie-Hurder
    • 1
  • Laura Shockro
    • 1
  • Keelin O’Connor
    • 1
  • Nancy Campbell
    • 1
  • Jocelyn Kasper
    • 1
  • Erica L. Mayer
    • 1
  • Sara M. Tolaney
    • 1
  • Ann H. Partridge
    • 1
  • Jennifer A. Ligibel
    • 1
  1. 1.Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  2. 2.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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