Background: Decreased lean body mass (LBM) is common in breast cancer survivors yet currently there is a lack of information regarding the determinants of LBM after treatment, in particular, the effect of physical activity and dietary factors, such as long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (LCn-3) on LBM and LBM function. This cross-sectional study explored associations of LBM and function with LCn-3 intake, dietary intake, inflammation, quality of life (QOL) and physical fitness in breast cancer survivors to improve clinical considerations when addressing body composition change.
Methods: Forty-nine women who had completed treatment (surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy) were assessed for body composition (BODPOD), LCn-3 content of erythrocytes, C-reactive protein (CRP), QOL, dietary intake, objective physical activity, 1-min push-ups, 1-min sitstand, sub-maximal treadmill (TM) test, and handgrip strength.
Results: After adjustment for age, LBM was associated with push-ups (r = 0.343, p = 0.000), stage reached on treadmill (StageTM) (r = 0.302, 0.001), % time spent ≥ moderate activity (Mod + Vig) (r = 0.228, p = 0.024). No associations were seen between anthropometric values and any treatment, diagnostic and demographical variables. Body mass, push-ups and StageTM accounted for 76.4% of the variability in LBM (adjusted r-square: 0.764, p = 0.000). After adjustment docosahexanoic acid (DHA) was positively associated with push-ups (β=0.399, p = 0.001), eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) was negatively associated with squats (r = -0.268, p = 0.041), with no other significant interactions found between LCn-3 and physical activity for LBM or LBM function.
Conclusion: This is the first investigation to report that a higher weight adjusted LBM is associated with higher estimated aerobic fitness and ability to perform push-ups in breast cancer survivors. Potential LCn-3 and physical activity interactions on LBM require further exploration.