An exercise trial targeting African-American women with metabolic syndrome and at high risk for breast cancer: Rationale, design, and methods

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Background: Metabolic syndrome and obesity are known risk factors for breast cancers. Exercise interventions can potentially modify circulating biomarkers of breast cancer risk but evidence in African-Americans and women with metabolic syndrome is lacking. Methods/design: The Focused Intervention on Exercise to Reduce CancEr (FIERCE) trial is a prospective, 6-month, 3-arm, randomized controlled trial to examine the effect of exercise on obesity, metabolic syndrome components, and breast cancer biomarkers among African-American women at high risk of breast cancer. Two hundred-forty inactive women with metabolic syndrome and absolute risk of breast cancer ≥. 1.40 will be randomized to one of the three trial arms: 1) a supervised, facility-based exercise arm; 2) a home-based exercise arm; and 3) a control group that maintains physical activity levels through the course of the trial. Assessments will be conducted at baseline, 3. months, and 6. months. The primary outcome variables are anthropometric indicators of obesity, metabolic syndrome components, and inflammatory, insulin-pathway, and hormonal biomarkers of breast cancer risk. Discussion: The FIERCE trial will provide evidence on whether a short-term exercise intervention might be effective in reducing breast cancer risk among African-American women with comorbidities and high breast cancer risk - a group traditionally under-represented in non-therapeutic breast cancer trials.

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