Open Access Study protocol

The muscle mass, omega-3, diet, exercise and lifestyle (MODEL) study – a randomised controlled trial for women who have completed breast cancer treatment

Cameron McDonald1*, Judy Bauer1, Sandra Capra1 and Joseph Coll2

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Dietetics Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

2 The Wesley Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:264  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-264

Published: 16 April 2014

Abstract

Background

Loss of lean body mass (LBM) is a common occurrence after treatment for breast cancer and is related to deleterious metabolic health outcomes [Clin Oncol, 22(4):281–288, 2010; Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 34(5):950–956, 2009]. The aim of this research is to determine the effectiveness of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (LCn-3s) and exercise training alone, or in combination, in addressing LBM loss in breast cancer survivors.

Methods/design

A total of 153 women who have completed treatment for breast cancer in the last 12 months, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 20 to 35 kg/m2, will be randomly assigned to one of 3 groups: 3g/d LCn-3s (N-3), a 12-week nutrition and exercise education program plus olive oil (P-LC) or the education program plus LCn-3s (EX+N-3). Participants randomised to the education groups will be blinded to treatment, and will receive either olive oil placebo (OO+N-3) or LCn-3 provision, while the N-3 group will be open label. The education program includes nine 60-75min sessions over 12 weeks that will involve breast cancer specific healthy eating advice, plus a supervised exercise session run as a resistance exercise circuit. They will also be advised to conduct the resistance training and aerobic training 5 to 7 days per week collectively. Outcome measures will be taken at baseline, 12-weeks and 24-weeks. The primary outcome is % change in LBM as measured by the air displacement plethysmograhy. Secondary outcomes include quality of life (FACT-B + 4) and inflammation (C-Reactive protein: CRP). Additional measures taken will be erythrocyte fatty acid analysis, fatigue, physical activity, menopausal symptoms, dietary intake, joint pain and function indices.

Discussion

This research will provide the first insight into the efficacy of LCn-3s alone or in combination with exercise in breast cancer survivors with regards to LBM and quality of life. In addition, this study is designed to improve evidence-based dietetic practice, and how specific dietary prescription may link with appropriate exercise interventions.

Trials registration

ACTRN12610001005044; and World Health Organisation Universal trial number: U1111-1116-8520.

Keywords:
Breast cancer; Omega-3 fatty acids; Body composition; Exercise; Lean body mass; Inflammation