Data from physical activity monitors (PAMs) worn by patients with cancer may accurately correlate with clinician assessments of performance status (PS), according to research published in Clinical Cancer Informatics.1

A patient’s functional status can be critically important when determining strategies for treating cancer. Patients with a poor PS can, for instance, have inferior outcomes when treated with chemotherapy, making accurate assessments of functional status prior to therapy critical.

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For this study, researchers “aimed to determine the long-term feasibility of PAMs to longitudinally assess physical activity and PS in patients with cancer who were receiving therapy.” Data from PAMs were compared with PS and quality of life (QoL) measurements. All enrolled patients had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) PS of 0 to 2. The PAM was considered feasible if patients used the device for more than 50% of the observation period.

Of 52 patients assessed for eligibility, 27 were enrolled, and 24 had data available for analysis. The mean age was 54 years, 67% were female, 48% had a gastrointestinal malignancy, and 54% had an ECOG PS of 0.

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Median follow-up was 69 days, at which point PAMs were deemed feasible among 23 of the 24 patients. For ECOG statuses 0, 1, and 2, PAM-measured steps per day were 5911, 1890, and 845, respectively. PAM-measured steps per day also correlated with scores from standard QoL assessment tools, including the Brief Fatigue Inventory and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–General.

At study completion, 75% of surveyed patients reported a positive experience with the PAM.

The authors concluded that this research “represents the first step in validating wearable newer-generation PAMs for use in clinical trials. The high consent rate among referred patients and low attrition rate and positive user experience further supports the feasibility of PAMs in this patient population.”


  1. Arjun Gupta A, Stewart T, Bhulani N, et al. Feasibility of wearable physical activity monitors in patients with cancer. Clin Cancer Inform. doi: 10.1200/CCI.17.00152 [Epub ahead of print]