Monday, November 2, 2015

Effects of exercise on physical fitness and fatigue in cancer survivors, REACT study

International evidence-based guidelines recommend physical exercise as part of standard care for all cancer survivors. However, at present, the optimum exercise intensity is unclear. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a high intensity (HI) and low-to-moderate intensity (LMI) resistance and endurance exercise program compared with a wait list control (WLC) group on physical fitness and fatigue in a mixed group of cancer survivors who completed primary cancer treatment, including chemotherapy. This study was just published in the journal BMC Medicine, with Caroline Kampshoff as first author.
277 cancer survivors were randomized to 12 weeks of HI exercise  LMI exercise, or WLC. Both interventions were identical with respect to exercise type, duration and frequency, and only differed in intensity. Measurements were performed at baseline (4–6 weeks after primary treatment) and post-intervention. The primary outcomes were cardiorespiratory fitness (peakVO 2 ), muscle strength (grip strength and 30-second chair-stand test), and self-reported fatigue (Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory; MFI). Secondary outcomes included health-related quality of life, physical activity, daily functioning, body composition, mood, and sleep disturbances.
HI and LMI exercise showed significantly larger improvements in peakVO 2 compared to WLC. Improvements in peakVO 2 were larger for HI than LMI exercise, but the difference was just short of statistically significant (P = 0.08). No intervention effects were found for grip strength and the 30-second chair-stand test. HI and LMI exercise significantly reduced general and physical fatigue and reduced activity (MFI subscales) compared to WLC, with no significant differences between both interventions. Finally, compared to WLC, we found benefits in global quality of life and anxiety after HI exercise, improved physical functioning after HI and LMI exercise, and less problems at work after LMI exercise.