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Diet, Exercise Intervention May Aid Chemotherapy Outcomes in Breast Cancer

Although relative dose intensity similar, pathologic complete response higher with intervention

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 15, 2023 (HealthDay News) — A home-based diet and exercise intervention could improve outcomes for women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, according to a study published online Sept. 1 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Tara Sanft, M.D., from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues randomly assigned 173 women with stage I to III breast cancer to usual care (86 patients) or a home-based exercise and nutrition intervention with counseling sessions delivered by oncology-certified registered dietitians (87 patients).

The researchers found that participants in the intervention group had significantly greater improvements in exercise and diet quality compared with the usual care group. The proportion of patients who achieved ≥85 percent relative dose intensity was similar between the groups, as was the proportion of patients who had at least one dose reduction and/or delay. Among 72 women who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, those in the intervention group were significantly more likely to have a pathologic complete response versus women in the usual care group (53 versus 28 percent).

“Further explanation is needed since it wasn’t the primary outcome of our study, but there’s an exciting possibility that diet and exercise can influence chemotherapy outcomes through factors other than just how much of chemotherapy was completed,” senior author Melinda Irwin, Ph.D., also from Yale University, said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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