Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Effects of exercise on quality of life in patients with cancer: an individual patient data meta-analysis

In a paper just published in Cancer Treatment Reviews -with Dr. Laurien Buffart as first author, as part of the POLARIS study, and together with a large international consortium -, we present the methods and results of a large individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis to evaluate the effects of exercise on quality of life (QoL) and physical function (PF) in patients with cancer, and to identify moderator effects of demographic (age, sex, marital status, education), clinical (body mass index, cancer type, presence of metastasis), intervention-related (intervention timing, delivery mode and duration, and type of control group), and exercise-related (exercise frequency, intensity, type, time) characteristics.  IPD from 34 randomised controlled trials (n=4,519 patients) that evaluated the effects of exercise compared to a usual care, wait-list or attention control group on QoL and PF in adult patients with cancer were retrieved and pooled. Linear mixed-effect models were used to evaluate the effects of the exercise on post-intervention outcome values (z-score) adjusting for baseline values. Moderator effects were studies by testing interactions. Exercise significantly improved QoL. These effects were not moderated by demographic, clinical or exercise characteristics. Effects on QoL were significantly larger for supervised than unsupervised interventions. In conclusion, exercise, and particularly supervised exercise, effectively improves QoL and PF in patients with cancer with different demographic and clinical characteristics during and following treatment. Although effect sizes are small, there is consistent empirical evidence to support implementation of exercise as part of cancer care.