Exercise May Reduce 10-Year Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Patients With Breast Cancer

Results from a recent study show that supervised clinical exercise can potentially reduce the 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease in patients with early-stage breast cancer (JAMA Oncol. 2019 Mar 28. Epub ahead of print).

“The Framingham Risk Score (FRS) is a valid method for predicting the 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Higher FRS is reported in patients with early-stage breast cancer who are overweight than in healthy, age-matched women, but whether exercise reduces FRS in this patient population is unclear,” explained investigator Christina M. Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPH, Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and colleagues.

To fill this gap in literature, the researchers conducted a single-center, prospective, randomized clinical trial examining the effects of a 16-week aerobic and resistance exercise intervention on the FRS in overweight or obese women with early-stage breast cancer.

Overall, 100 sedentary women with stage I to III breast cancer who were obese or overweight (body mass index, ≥25.0 or body fat, ≥30%) and who had completed cancer therapy within 6 months of enrollment were included in the study (mean age, 53.5 years).

These patients were randomized to a usual care (n = 50) or exercise (n = 50) study arm, the latter of which underwent supervised aerobic and resistance exercise sessions thrice weekly for 16 weeks.

Dr Dieli-Conwright and colleagues calculated the FRS for each patient using preset points for age, systolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, diabetes presence, and smoking status.

Using mixed-model repeated-measures analyses, they assessed differences in mean changes for outcomes. Data were collected between August 1, 2012, and July 1, 2017, and analyzed between May 24, 2018, and October 2, 2018.

Postintervention, the mean total FRS scores were 2.0 and 13.0 in the exercise and usual care arms, respectively. In addition, the FRS was significantly reduced in the exercise arm versus the usual care arm (mean, -9.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], -13.0 to -6.0), corresponding with an 11% (95% CI, -15.0 to -5.0) reduction in the FRS-predicted 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease.

“A 16-week supervised aerobic and resistance exercise intervention appeared to reduce the FRS-predicted 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease in women with early-stage breast cancer with overweight condition or obesity,” Dr Dieli-Conwright and colleagues concluded.—Hina Khaliq

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