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A lifestyle intervention of weight loss via a low-carbohydrate diet plus walking to reduce metabolic disturbances caused by androgen deprivation therapy among prostate cancer patients: carbohydrate and prostate study 1 (CAPS1) randomized controlled trial




The objective of this study was to test a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) plus walking to reduce androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)-induced metabolic disturbances.

Materials and methods

This randomized multi-center trial of prostate cancer (PCa) patients initiating ADT was designed to compare an LCD (≤20g carbohydrate/day) plus walking (≥30 min for ≥5 days/week) intervention vs. control advised to maintain usual diet and exercise patterns. Primary outcome was change in insulin resistance by homeostatic model assessment at 6 months. To detect 20% reduction in insulin resistance, 100 men were required. The study was stopped early after randomizing 42 men due to slow accrual. Secondary outcomes included weight, body composition, lipids, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Changes from baseline were compared between arms using rank-sum tests.


At 6 months, LCD/walking reduced insulin resistance by 4% vs. 36% increase in control (p = 0.13). At 3 months, vs. control, LCD/walking arm significantly lost weight (7.8kg; p<0.001), improved insulin resistance (↑36%; p = 0.015), hemoglobin A1c (↓3.3%; p = 0.01), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (↑13%; p = 0.004), and triglyceride (↓37%; p = 0.036). At 6 months, weight loss (10.6kg; p<0.001) and HDL (↑27%; p = 0.003) remained significant. LCD/walking preserved total body bone mineral count (p = 0.025), reduced fat mass (p = 0.002), lean mass (p = 0.036), and percent body fat (p = 0.004). There were no differences in PSA. Limitations include the effect of LCD, weight loss vs. walking instruction are indistinguishable, and small sample size.


In an underpowered study, LCD/walking did not improve insulin sensitivity at 6 months. Given most secondary outcomes were improved at 3 months with some remaining improved at 6 months and a secondary analysis showed that LCD/walking reduced insulin resistance over the study, supporting future larger studies of LCD/walking intervention to reduce ADT-induced disturbances.

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This study was funded by the Atkins Foundation, AUA, NIH K24 CA160653.

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Correspondence to Stephen J. Freedland.

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Freedland, S.J., Howard, L., Allen, J. et al. A lifestyle intervention of weight loss via a low-carbohydrate diet plus walking to reduce metabolic disturbances caused by androgen deprivation therapy among prostate cancer patients: carbohydrate and prostate study 1 (CAPS1) randomized controlled trial. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 22, 428–437 (2019).

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