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Nestlé Health Science Supports Dana-Farber on Study Investigating the Impact of Weight Loss on Breast Cancer Recurrence

Florham Park, N.J. October 11, 2016 – Nestlé Health Science announced today it will support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on a landmark study investigating the impact of a supervised weight-loss intervention on breast cancer recurrence in overweight and obese women. Nestlé Health Science will provide OPTIFAST 800® Shake Mix meal replacements to the Breast Cancer Weight Loss (BWEL) study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. This announcement comes on World Obesity Day, which is aimed at stimulating and supporting practical actions that will help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reverse the global obesity crisis.

A recent meta-analysis of 82 studies showed that the risk of breast cancer mortality was increased by 35% in women who were obese at the time of breast cancer diagnosis.1 The BWEL study is the first large-scale study to test the impact of weight loss on the risk of disease recurrence in women with early-stage breast cancer.

“This first-of-its-kind study aligns with our commitment to improving health outcomes linked with nutritional interventions,” said Joao Siffert, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Nestlé Health Science. “OPTIFAST 800® Shake Mix meal replacement is one of the products offered through the OPTIFAST® weight management program, and we are honored to contribute this nutritional option to the BWEL study.”

Enrollment in the BWEL study is now underway and will involve nearly 3,200 women in the United States and Canada. Participants will be randomized either to a two-year weight loss intervention plus a health education program, or to a control group receiving a health education program alone.

Nestlé Health Science will donate the nutritionally complete meal replacement OPTIFAST 800® Shake Mixes for participants in the weight loss intervention study group to use throughout the two-year program. These shake mixes are nutritionally balanced and may help patients reduce their intake of calories and, as a result, help meet their weight loss goals. Women enrolled in the study will be given the option of using the OPTIFAST® Shake Mixes as part of their dietary regimen, which will also include fruits, vegetables, lean meat and whole grains.

"Giving patients a reliable way to manage calories is so important,” said Jennifer Ligibel, MD, a breast oncologist in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, and lead investigator of the BWEL trial. “Portion control, as well as adequate nutrition, can be very difficult, and we are grateful to Nestlé Health Science for providing OPTIFAST 800® Shake Mix meal replacements for this critical study.”

About the BWEL Study

The Breast Cancer Weight Loss (BWEL) study is a randomized Phase III clinical trial evaluating the impact of a supervised weight loss intervention plus health education materials versus health education materials alone upon invasive disease-free survival in 3,136 overweight and obese women with Stage II-III breast cancer.

Patients will be followed every six months for the first three years after study enrollment, and then annually until 10 years from registration. The intervention will last two years or until disease recurrence/progression, new invasive primary cancer as defined in the protocol or patient withdrawal.

For more information about the BWEL study, visit


The OPTIFAST Program was developed in 1974 to fill the growing need to address obesity in a healthy, effective way. As diseases related to obesity became more prevalent, and more people began seeking a solution, the OPTIFAST Program was introduced as a sensible option for lifestyle transformation. The program combines support and counseling, lifestyle education, and medical monitoring with nutritionally complete meal replacements to help people lose weight, which can in turn reduce weight-related health risks. Medical supervision is a key component of the program. The OPTIFAST Program is offered by Nestlé Health Science and is available in key markets worldwide. For more information, to see patient stories and to find a clinic, visit

1. Chan, D.S., et al., Body mass index and survival in women with breast cancer-systematic literature review and meta-analysis of 82 follow-up studies. Ann Oncol, 2014.

- Nestlé Health Science Press release

- Link to Dana-Farber