Exercise initiated during chemotherapy is feasible, prevents fatigue, and is associated with other beneficial outcomes, according to results of a study published in JACC: CardioOncology.

This study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01642680) was designed to evaluate whether a 24-week exercise program initiated during cancer treatment (group A) was superior to the same program started after treatment (group B). To that end, 266 patients were recruited at 3 sites in the Netherlands between 2013 and 2018. They were randomly assigned to group A (n=133) and group B (n=133).

Patients’ diagnoses were breast cancer (n=139), testicular cancer (n=95), colon cancer (n=30), and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (n=2). The mean age was 45.8 years in group A and 48.3 years in group B. Most patients (57% and 58%, respectively) were women. They had a mean BMI of 25.4 kg/m2 and 26.3 kg/m2, respectively.


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The exercise intervention consisted of 12 weeks of supervised exercise, followed by 12 weeks of home-based, unsupervised exercise. Patients in group A started the supervised exercise intervention during chemotherapy and continued with home-based exercise after chemotherapy completion. Patients in group B started the supervised exercise intervention about 3 weeks after their final dose of chemotherapy.

The median adherence rate to supervised exercise was 75.0% in group A and 83.3% in group B. Adherence to the home-based intervention was 82% in group A and 83% in group B.

From baseline to immediately after chemotherapy, VO2peak declined significantly in both groups, but the decline was less in group A than in group B (P <.001). There were no between-group differences in VO2peak immediately post-intervention or at 1 year.

At 1 year, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) was higher in both groups compared with baseline. There were no between-group differences in HRQOL immediately post-intervention or at 1 year. However, immediately post-chemotherapy, HRQOL declined less in group A than in group B (P =.027).

There were no between-group differences in general fatigue or physical fatigue immediately post-intervention or at 1 year. Immediately post-chemotherapy, patients in group A experienced less general fatigue (P =.001) and physical fatigue (P <.001).

Disclosures: Some authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

van der Schoot GGF, Ormel HL, Westerink N-DL, et al. Optimal timing of a physical exercise intervention to improve cardiorespiratory fitness: during or after chemotherapy. JACC CardioOnc. Published online October 18, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.jaccao.2022.07.006

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor