Exercise May Benefit Some Cancer Patients More Than Others

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Laurien Buffart, PhD  Chair Amsterdam eXercise in Oncology (AXiON) research Departments of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Medical Oncology VUmc  Amsterdam | The Netherlands

Dr. Buffart

Laurien Buffart, PhD
Chair Amsterdam eXercise in Oncology (AXiON) research
Departments of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Medical Oncology
VUmc  Amsterdam | The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: There is evidence from randomized controlled trials that exercise has beneficial effects on physical fitness, fatigue, quality of life and self-reported physical function during and following cancer treatment. The magnitude of the effects, however, often appear modest, possibly because interventions rarely target patients with worse symptoms and quality of life.

Based on individual patient data from 34 randomized controlled trials, we found that exercise interventions during cancer treatment are effective in maintaining muscle strength and quality of life, regardless of their baseline values.

Offering exercise interventions post cancer treatment to patients with a relatively high muscle strength and quality of life does not appear to further improve these outcomes. For aerobic fitness, exercise interventions during treatment had larger effects in patients with higher baseline aerobic fitness, whereas all patients were able to improve aerobic fitness post treatment. Greater effects on fatigue and self-reported physical function were found for patients with worse baseline fatigue and physical function, both during and post-treatment. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Although exercise should be encouraged for most patients with cancer, depending on the aim of the exercise intervention, it may be particularly beneficial to target specific subgroups of patients at specific timepoints across the cancer continuum. It is important to carefully consider when and with what purpose exercise interventions should be offered to which patient with cancer.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future studies should examine how patients with low aerobic fitness can adhere to and benefit from exercise interventions during cancer treatment and how to better tailor exercise interventions to patients with low aerobic fitness.

Future studies should also examine the influence of baseline values of other relevant outcomes including, for example, depression and sleep, as well as the exercise effects on clinical outcomes.

Disclosures: The work was supported by the Alpe d’HuZes foundation / Dutch Cancer Society via the ‘Bas Mulder Award’ granted to L.M. Buffart


Laurien M Buffart, Maike G Sweegers, Anne M May, Mai J Chinapaw, Jonna K van Vulpen, Rob U Newton, Daniel A Galvão, Neil K Aaronson, Martijn M Stuiver, Paul B Jacobsen, Irma M Verdonck-de Leeuw, Karen Steindorf, Melinda L Irwin, Sandi Hayes, Kathleen A Griffith, Alejandro Lucia, Fernando Herrero-Roman, Ilse Mesters, Ellen van Weert, Hans Knoop, Martine M Goedendorp, Nanette Mutrie, Amanda J Daley, Alex McConnachie, Martin Bohus, Lene Thorsen, Karl-Heinz Schulz, Camille E Short, Erica L James, Ronald C Plotnikoff, Gill Arbane, Martina E Schmidt, Karin Potthoff, Marc van Beurden, Hester S Oldenburg, Gabe S Sonke, Wim H van Harten, Rachel Garrod, Kathryn H Schmitz, Kerri M Winters-Stone, Miranda J Velthuis, Dennis R Taaffe, Willem van Mechelen, Marie José Kersten, Frans Nollet, Jennifer Wenzel, Joachim Wiskemann, Johannes Brug, Kerry S Courneya; Targeting Exercise Interventions to Patients With Cancer in Need: An Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis, JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, , djy161, https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djy161

Oct 10, 2018 @ 12:01 pm 

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