A wearable fitness tracker can be used to quantify physical activity for patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) and may have potential to predict treatment toxicity, according to study data published in JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics.

The trial prospectively enrolled 80 patients with CRC who underwent either chemotherapy (40 patients) or surgery (40 patients) and were tasked with wearing a Fitbit Charge for 4 days at baseline—defined as the start of new chemotherapy (±2 weeks) or prior to curative resection—and during follow-up. Follow-up was conducted 4 weeks (±2 weeks) after the initial assessment in the chemotherapy cohort and after postoperative discharge in the surgery group.

The study met its primary end point of feasibility, which was defined as 75% of patients wearing the tracker for a minimum of 12 hours each day on at least 3 of the 4 days for which they were told to wear the tracker.

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Overall, 85% of patients wore their tracker for more than the required amount of time, Ninety-one percent of patients reported that wearing the tracker was “easy,” and 86% said that the tracker “did not interfere with daily activity.”

Further analysis revealed that patients who had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 logged more steps per day than those with a performance status of 1 (6313 steps vs 2925 steps; P =0.0003).

Also, although patients who reached more than 5000 steps per day had a lower incidence of toxicity of interest compared with patients who did not reach 5000 steps per day (21% vs 32%), the difference was not statistically significant (P =0.31).

The study authors wrote that their results illustrate the value of steps per day as an “adjunct” to performance status assessment and a “possible tool” to predict toxicities, regardless of type of therapy used to treat the disease.

Disclosures: Some of the study authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry and/or the medical device industry. For a full list of disclosures, please refer to the original study.


Ward WH, Meeker CR, Handorf E, et al. Feasibility of fitness tracker usage to assess activity level and toxicities in patients with colorectal cancer. JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2021;5:125-133. doi:10.1200/CCI.20.00117