Optimization of an mHealth lifestyle intervention for families with hereditary cancer syndromes: Study protocol for a multiphase optimization strategy feasibility study

Karen Basen-Engquist, Margaret Raber, Larkin L. Strong, Susan Schembre, Liang Li, Banu Arun, Karen Lu, Nancy You, Eduardo Vilar, Patrick Lynch, Sara Fares, Susan K. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Individuals at increased hereditary risk of cancer are an important target for health promotion and cancer prevention interventions. Health-4-Families uses the Multiphase Optimization STrategy (MOST) framework and is designed to pilot digital delivery strategies for a distance-based, 16-week intervention to promote weight management, healthy diet, and increased physical activity among individuals with BRCA1/BRCA2 or DNA mismatch repair (MMR) pathogenic germline variants. This communication describes participant recruitment and the design of the Health-4-Families pilot study. Methods: Health-4-Families is a full-factorial (16 condition) randomized pilot study of four lifestyle intervention components: social networking, telephone or email coaching, text messaging, and self-monitoring. The primary outcome was feasibility and satisfaction with these study components. Participants with pathogenic germline variants were identified via clinic surveillance lists and advocacy organizations and were invited to participate with family members. All participants had to report meeting at least one of the following criteria: (1) having a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2, (2) consuming <5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, or (3) getting <150 min of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity per week. Results: The majority of screened potential participants with pathogenic variants (83%) were eligible; 86% of those eligible provided informed consent and 79% (n = 104) completed baseline. A total of 206 family members were nominated by study participants and 49% (n = 102) completed baseline. Discussion: Recruitment data suggest that individuals with pathogenic germline variants, who are at increased risk for hereditary cancers, are motivated to participate in digital lifestyle interventions. This recruitment success highlights the importance of identifying and prioritizing effective and efficient intervention components for hereditary cancer families. We intend to use the outcomes of our pilot study to inform a fully-powered factorial study for this community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106662
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior modification
  • Hereditary breast cancer
  • Hereditary ovarian cancer
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Multiphase optimization strategy
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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