Physical Activity Linked to Improved Survival from Metastatic Colon Cancer Interview with:

Brendan John Guercio, M.D. Clinical Fellow in Medicine (EXT) Brigham and Women's Hospital

Dr. Brendan Guercio

Brendan John Guercio, M.D.
Clinical Fellow in Medicine (EXT)
Brigham and Women’s Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sedentary lifestyle is a known risk factor for the development of colon cancer and has been associated with increased disease recurrence and mortality in patients with early stage colorectal cancer. This is the first study to our knowledge to show an association between increased physical activity (i.e. non-sedentary lifestyle) and improved survival and progression-free survival in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Patients with colorectal cancer should always discuss with their doctor before starting a new exercise program. Patients should also be advised that exercise is not a substitute for chemotherapy or other medical treatments; all patients in our study received chemotherapy, and so benefits of exercise if anything are additive to chemotherapy. Patients in our study reporting levels of physical activity equivalent to 30 minutes or more of moderate activity daily experienced a reduction in risk of disease progression and mortality from any cause. Furthermore, individuals participating in 5 or more hours of nonvigorous activities per week also experienced a reduction in risk of mortality. Therefore, participating in moderate and nonvigorous activities such as walking, yoga, or hiking for 30 minutes or more per day, may improve outcomes. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Given the observational nature of our study, these findings should be replicated before we can be certain that exercise improves outcomes in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer; however, many oncologists may already feel comfortable advising patients to exercise based on our results because moderate exercise may help and is unlikely to cause harm. Ultimately, randomized clinical trials would need to be performed to confirm our findings.

Disclosures: My co-authors and I have no conflicts of interest to disclose. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Guercio BJ, Venook AP, Niedzwiecki D, et al. Associations of physical activity with survival and progression in metastatic colorectal cancer: Results from CALGB 80405 (Alliance). Abstract presented at: 2017 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium; January 19-21, 2016; San Francisco, CA. Abstract 659.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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