Combined Aerobic-Resistance Exercise Intervention in Overweight/Obese Survivors of Breast Cancer


Key Points


  • The combined exercise intervention significantly reduced metabolic syndrome factors.
  • The intervention improved sarcopenic obesity and circulating biomarkers.

In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Dieli-Conwright et al found that an aerobic and resistance intervention reduced metabolic syndrome factors and sarcopenic obesity among sedentary, overweight, or obese women with breast cancer.

Study Details

In the study, 100 women from University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Los Angeles County Hospital were randomized to a combined aerobic and resistance exercise intervention (n = 50) or usual care (n = 50). The exercise group participated in supervised moderate-to-vigorous (65% to 85% of heart rate maximum) aerobic and resistance exercise three times per week for 16 weeks.

Metabolic syndrome z-score was the primary outcome, with scoring based on waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose. Metabolic syndrome variables, sarcopenic obesity, and serum biomarkers were assessed at baseline, postintervention at 4 months, and 3 months thereafter (exercise group only). Patients had a mean age of 53 years, 46% were obese, and 74% were ethnic minorities.

Intervention Outcomes

Intervention adherence was 95% and postintervention data were available for 91% of patients. At baseline, 77% of patients had metabolic syndrome. Postintervention, 15% of the exercise group and 80% of the usual care group had metabolic syndrome.

The postintervention metabolic syndrome z-score was significantly improved in the exercise group vs usual care group (P < .001), as were postintervention sarcopenic obesity measures such as appendicular skeletal mass index (P = .001) and body mass index (P = .001), as well as circulating biomarkers, including insulin (P = .002), IGF-1 (P = .001), leptin (P = .001), and adiponectin (P = .001). At 3 months postintervention, all metabolic syndrome variables remained significantly improved vs baseline in the exercise group (P < .01).

The investigators concluded, “Combined resistance and aerobic exercise effectively attenuated metabolic syndrome, sarcopenic obesity, and relevant biomarkers in an ethnically diverse sample of sedentary, overweight, or obese survivors of breast cancer. Our findings suggest a targeted exercise prescription for improving metabolic syndrome in survivors of breast cancer and support the incorporation of supervised clinical exercise programs into breast cancer treatment and survivorship care plans.”

The study was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and National Center for Advancing Translational Science.

Christina M. Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPH, FACSM, of the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, is the corresponding author for the Journal of Clinical Oncology article. 

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.