A Randomized Trial Evaluating Bioimpedance Spectroscopy Versus Tape Measurement for the Prevention of Lymphedema Following Treatment for Breast Cancer-Interim Analysis
Ridner, Sheila H.
Dietrich, Mary S.
Cowher, Michael S.
DeSnyder, Sarah M.
Background Breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) represents a major source of morbidity among breast cancer survivors. Increasing data support early detection of subclinical BCRL followed by early intervention. A randomized controlled trial is being conducted comparing lymphedema progression rates using volume measurements calculated from the circumference using a tape measure (TM) or bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS). Methods Patients were enrolled and randomized to either TM or BIS surveillance. Patients requiring early intervention were prescribed a compression sleeve and gauntlet for 4 weeks and then re-evaluated. The primary endpoint of the trial was the rate of progression to clinical lymphedema requiring complex decongestive physiotherapy (CDP), with progression defined as a TM volume change in the at-risk arm >= 10% above the presurgical baseline. This prespecified interim analysis was performed when at least 500 trial participants had >= 12 months of follow-up. Results A total of 508 patients were included in this analysis, with 109 (21.9%) patients triggering prethreshold interventions. Compared with TM, BIS had a lower rate of trigger (15.8% vs. 28.5%, p < 0.001) and longer times to trigger (9.5 vs. 2.8 months, p = 0.002). Twelve triggering patients progressed to CDP (10 in the TM group [14.7%] and 2 in the BIS group [4.9%]), representing a 67% relative reduction and a 9.8% absolute reduction (p = 0.130). Conclusions Interim results demonstrated that post-treatment surveillance with BIS reduced the absolute rates of progression of BCRL requiring CDP by approximately 10%, a clinically meaningful improvement. These results support the concept of post-treatment surveillance with BIS to detect subclinical BCRL and initiate early intervention.