St. Mary recruiting for clinical trials to reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence

The Langhorne-based hospital is studying if weight loss or aspirin can reduce the risk of breast cancer from coming back

The Times

St. Mary Medical Center is currently recruiting for two clinical trials to discover if the effects of weight loss in one trial, and if a daily dose of aspirin in another trial, can reduce the risk of breast cancer from returning (recurrence).

The Breast Cancer Weight Loss Study (BWEL Study) looks to see whether weight loss in overweight and obese women may reduce the risk of breast cancer from recurring. The other study, called the Aspirin Before Cancer (ABC) trial, will study if aspirin works in reducing the risk of breast cancer from returning in patients after chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation therapy.

“These two clinical trials are important for researchers to determine effective and preventive measures in protecting the health of breast cancer survivors,” said St. Mary’s director of research, Dr. Robert Reilly. “We want to ensure the long-term health of cancer survivors, even after they complete their treatment.”

Previous studies found that women who were overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis faced a greater risk of recurrence compared to women who are at a healthier weight at time of diagnosis. The hope of the BWEL study is to show the efficacy of successfully integrating weight loss programs into breast cancer treatment programs. St. Mary will follow up with study participants every six months for the first three years after they enroll in the study, and then annually until 10 years after registration.

Some of the criteria to be eligible for the BWEL study includes:

Patients with Stage II or III, HER2neu negative Breast Cancer

Patients must register for the study within 12 months after first diagnosis

All chemotherapy, radiation and surgery must be completed at least 21 days before registration for the study

Have a BMI greater than or equal to 27 and documented within 56 days before registration

The second clinical trial available to patients is the ABC trial, which is studying the effects of aspirin in preventing recurrence in breast cancer patients after they have undergone chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation therapy. The goal of the study is to determine if integrating daily aspirin use is an effective prevention method. The St. Mary research team will follow up with study participants up to 10 years after enrollment.

Here are some of the criteria to determine a patient’s eligibility for the study:

Documentation in women or men with lymph node stage II or III breast cancer

Last dose of chemotherapy or radiation treatment must be at least 30 days before study registration. Simultaneous hormonal therapy is allowed.

Patients must enroll within one year after diagnosis

It is currently unknown whether weight loss or daily aspirin use will reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence for the ABC study. It is also unknown how much weight a person needs to lose to lower the overall risk for the BWEL study. However, these studies seek to discover the effects of these factors and if they should be included in breast cancer treatment programs.

“Patients that wish to participate can do so knowing they have the potential to make a difference in breast cancer treatments and change their lives for the better,” said Dr. Reilly.

Potential participants in the ABC and BWEL studies do not need to have had their breast cancer treatments at the hospital. St. Mary welcomes everyone that qualifies to register for the study.

Potential study participants can learn more about both clinical trials at www.stmaryhealthcare.org/clinicaltrials<http://www.stmaryhealthcare.org/clinicaltrials>.