Feasibility Outcomes of a Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial to Increase Cruciferous and Green Leafy Vegetable Intake in Posttreatment Head and Neck Cancer Survivors

Academic Article


  • Background: Higher intakes of cruciferous vegetables (CVs) and green leafy vegetables (GLVs) in observational studies are associated with improvements in survival and cancer-related biomarkers in patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer (HNC). These results have yet to be corroborated in a randomized clinical trial (RCT). Objective: Determine the feasibility of implementing a 12-week RCT to increase CV and GLV intake in posttreatment HNC survivors. Design and participants: This was a two-arm RCT conducted among 24 posttreatment HNC survivors. Survivors were recruited from a southeastern, National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center between January 2015 and September 2016. Intervention: There were two groups: (1) an experimental group (n=12) receiving weekly 15- to 30-minute telephone dietary counseling from a registered dietitian nutritionist stressing 2.5 cups per week CVs and 3.5 cups per week GLVs, and (2) an attention control group (n=12) receiving weekly 15- to 30-minute telephone dietary counseling from a registered dietitian nutritionist focusing on general healthy eating for cancer survivors. Participants completed a baseline survey, three 24-hour dietary recalls, phlebotomy, and anthropometric measures prior to randomization and at the end of the 12-week study period. The experimental group also completed weekly vegetable record recalls. Main outcome measures: Primary outcomes included feasibility, recruitment, retention, adherence, and safety. Secondary outcomes included inflammatory markers and carotenoids. Statistical analyses performed: Descriptive statistics were generated for demographic, epidemiological, and clinical variables as well as the primary feasibility outcomes. Between- and within-group comparisons of mean serum cytokine and carotenoid levels were performed using appropriate statistical tests depending on their respective distributions for the purpose of generating preliminary effect sizes. Results: Overall, 350 incident HNC cases were screened for eligibility, and 98 were eligible for study participation. Reasons for ineligibility and exclusion included deceased (n=93); wrong or inactive telephone numbers, or unable to be reached, or lost to follow-up (n=93); not meeting inclusion criteria (n=39); and too ill to participate (n=27). Of the 98 eligible HNC cases, 24 agreed to participate, for an enrollment rate of 25%. The most common reason for nonparticipation was distance (n=48), as participants were asked to report for two on-site assignments. The retention rate was 96%. Mean intervention adherence rates for weekly goals were 67% CV, 74% GLV, and 71% overall. Completion rate of weekly counseling calls was 90%. The experimental group reported an overall mean increase of 5.5 cups GLV and 3.5 cups CV per week from baseline intake, respectively. No significant between- or within-arm differences were observed for inflammatory markers or carotenoids. Conclusion: A posttreatment intervention aimed at increasing CV and GLV intake in HNC survivors is feasible. A larger RCT is needed to assess the efficacy of this intervention on disease outcomes.
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    Author List

  • Crowder SL; FrugĂ© AD; Douglas KG; Chen YT; Moody L; Delk-Licata A; Erdman JW; Black M; Carroll WR; Spencer SA
  • Start Page

  • 659
  • End Page

  • 671
  • Volume

  • 119
  • Issue

  • 4