Intensive Weight Loss Intervention and Cancer Risk in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: Analysis of the Look AHEAD Randomized Clinical Trial

Academic Article


  • Objective: This study was designed to determine whether intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) aimed at weight loss lowers cancer incidence and mortality. Methods: Data from the Look AHEAD trial were examined to investigate whether participants randomized to ILI designed for weight loss would have reduced overall cancer incidence, obesity-related cancer incidence, and cancer mortality, as compared with the diabetes support and education (DSE) comparison group. This analysis included 4,859 participants without a cancer diagnosis at baseline except for nonmelanoma skin cancer. Results: After a median follow-up of 11 years, 684 participants (332 in ILI and 352 in DSE) were diagnosed with cancer. The incidence rates of obesity-related cancers were 6.1 and 7.3 per 1,000 person-years in ILI and DSE, respectively, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.84 (95% CI: 0.68-1.04). There was no significant difference between the two groups in total cancer incidence (HR, 0.93; 95% CI: 0.80-1.08), incidence of nonobesity-related cancers (HR, 1.02; 95% CI: 0.83-1.27), or total cancer mortality (HR, 0.92; 95% CI: 0.68-1.25). Conclusions: An ILI aimed at weight loss lowered incidence of obesity-related cancers by 16% in adults with overweight or obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study sample size likely lacked power to determine effect sizes of this magnitude and smaller.
  • Published In

  • Obesity  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yeh HC; Bantle JP; Cassidy-Begay M; Blackburn G; Bray GA; Byers T; Clark JM; Coday M; Egan C; Espeland MA
  • Start Page

  • 1678
  • End Page

  • 1686
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 9