Purpose: Body weight and body composition may change during and after adjuvant or neo-adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. However, most studies did not include a comparison group of women without cancer, thus could not assess whether observed changes differed from age-related fluctuations in body weight and body composition over time. We assessed changes in body composition during and after chemotherapy in breast cancer patients compared with age-matched women not diagnosed with cancer. Methods: We recruited 181 patients with stage I–IIIb breast cancer and 180 women without cancer. In patients, we assessed body composition using a dual-energy X-ray scan before start of chemotherapy (T1), shortly after chemotherapy (T2), and 6 months after chemotherapy (T3); for the comparison group, the corresponding time points were recruitment (T1) and 6 (T2) and 12 (T3) months. Results: Fifteen percent of patients and 8% of the comparison group gained at least 5% in body weight between T1 and T3. Among the comparison group, no statistically significant changes in body weight, or body composition were observed over time. Body weight of patients significantly increased from baseline (72.1 kg ± 0.4 kg) to T2 (73.3 kg ± 0.4 kg), but decreased to 73.0 kg ± 0.4 kg after chemotherapy (T3). Lean mass of patients significantly increased from 43.1 kg ± 0.5 kg at baseline to 44.0 kg ± 0.5 kg at T2, but returned to 43.1 kg ± 0.5 kg at T3. There were no differential changes in fat mass over time between patients and the comparison group. Conclusions: Changes in body weight and body composition during and after chemotherapy for early stage breast cancer were modest, and did not differ substantially from changes in body weight and body composition among women without cancer.
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