Food to Overcome Outcomes Disparities: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Food Insecurity Interventions to Improve Cancer Outcomes

Francesca Gany, Irina Melnic, Minlun Wu, Yuelin Li, Jackie Finik, Julia Ramirez, Victoria Blinder, Margaret Kemeny, Elizabeth Guevara, Caroline Hwang, Jennifer Leng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


PURPOSEFood insecurity is prevalent among low-income immigrant and minority patients with cancer. To our knowledge, this randomized controlled trial is the first to prospectively examine the impact on cancer outcomes of food insecurity interventions, with the goal of informing evidence-based interventions to address food insecurity in patients with cancer.METHODSA three-arm randomized controlled trial was conducted among food-insecure (18-item US Department of Agriculture Household Food Security Survey Module score ≥ 3) patients with cancer (N = 117) at four New York City safety net cancer clinics. Arms included a hospital cancer clinic-based food pantry (arm 1), food voucher plus pantry (arm 2), and home grocery delivery plus pantry (arm 3). Treatment completion (primary outcome) and full appointment attendance were assessed at 6 months. Food security status, depression symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), and quality-of-life scores (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General) were assessed at baseline and at 6 months.RESULTSVoucher plus pantry had the highest treatment completion rate (94.6%), followed by grocery delivery plus pantry (82.5%) and pantry (77.5%; P =.046). Food security scores improved significantly in all arms, and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General scores improved significantly in the pantry and delivery plus pantry arms.CONCLUSIONOur findings in this preliminary study suggest that voucher plus pantry was the most effective intervention at improving treatment completion, and it met our a priori criterion for a promising intervention (≥ 90%). All interventions demonstrated the potential to improve food security among medically underserved, food-insecure patients with cancer at risk of impaired nutrition status, reduced quality of life, and poorer survival. All patients with cancer should be screened for food insecurity, with evidence-based food insecurity interventions made available.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberJCO.21.02400
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Food to Overcome Outcomes Disparities: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Food Insecurity Interventions to Improve Cancer Outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this