Impact of Physical Activity on Biomarkers of Aging and Body Composition Among Breast Cancer Survivors Age 65 and Older

Project: Research project


Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in general and among older women in particular. Currently in the US the median age at diagnosis is 61 years and the majority of breast cancer deaths occur in women 65 years and older. Moreover, of the three million breast cancer survivors in the US 2.1 million are 60 and older. Similiar to yonger women, most breast cancer tumors diagnosed in older women are detected at an early and curable stage, wehre an array of treatment options has significantly improved cancer prognosis and survival. Adjuvant chemotherapy has played a major role in improving survival in both younger and older patients, but in older women, especially, its associated toxicities can lead to declines in function, quality of life, and even survival. For older patients, such loss of function may lead to loss of independence, probably the most important concern of older women who undergo chemotherapy. We have shown that the expression of p16, a gene that encodes a protein that blocks cyclin-dependent kinase and cell division and causes cell senescence is rapidly, permanently, and dramatically increased in peripheral blood T-lymphocytes druing adjuvant chemotherapy. For clinicians treating older women with a breast cancer diagnosis, how their patients survive and thrive after dajuvant chemotherapy must be of equal concern as preventing cancer recurrence and prolonging life. Toxicities that result in decreased physical activity and increased fatigue frequently lead to chronic detrimental changes in body composition, including loss of lean body mass, los of muscle mass, and increase in adipose tissue. Excercise has been show to attenuate these changes. We hypothesize that exercise will lessen fatigue and maintain or improve lean body mass after chemotherapy, and also attenuate the dramatic and sustained increase in p16 that is associated with both adjuvant chemotherap adminstration and advancing age. We propose to conduct a Phase II trail using a concurrent R01-funded trial as a No Intervention control, of a home-based physical activity program in female breast cancer patients age 65+ who are receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. Our hypothesis is that a scalable, user-friendly, physical activity program can preserve and optimize function in these older women, while also changing ther trajectory of a gene likley to be involved in aging.
Effective start/end date5/1/144/30/18


  • V Foundation for Cancer Research


Body Composition
Breast Neoplasms
Adjuvant Chemotherapy
Drug Therapy
p16 Genes
Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
Cell Aging
Cell Division
Adipose Tissue
Quality of Life