Effectiveness of physical activity on cardiorespiratory fitness and health-related quality of life in young and middle-aged cancer patients shortly after chemotherapy

Lene Thorsen, Eva Skovlund, Sigmund B Strømme, Kjersti Hornslien, Alv A Dahl, Sophie D Fosså
Journal of Clinical Oncology 2005 April 1, 23 (10): 2378-88

PURPOSE: To evaluate the effectiveness of a supervised home-based flexible training program on cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), mental distress, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) parameters in young and middle-aged cancer patients shortly after curative chemotherapy.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred eleven patients age 18 to 50 years who had received chemotherapy for lymphomas or breast, gynecologic, or testicular cancer completed the trial. These patients were randomly allocated to either an intervention group (n = 59), which underwent a 14-week training program, or a control group (n = 52) that received standard care. Primary outcome was change in CRF, as determined by Astrand-Rhyming indirect bicycle ergometer test (maximum oxygen uptake [VO(2max)]), between baseline (T0) and follow-up (T1). Secondary outcomes were mental distress, as assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and HRQOL, as assessed by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire. Two-way analysis of covariance was used to analyze changes from T0 to T1.

RESULTS: VO(2max) increased by 6.4 mL/kg(-1)/min(-1) in patients in the intervention group and by 3.1 mL/kg(-1)/min(-1) in patients in the control group (P < .01). The fatigue score decreased by 17.0 points in the control group compared with only 5.8 points in the intervention group (P < .01). There were no intergroup differences in mental distress or HRQOL.

CONCLUSION: A supervised, home-based, flexible training program has significant effect on CRF in young and middle-aged cancer patients shortly after curative chemotherapy, but it has no favorable effect on patients' experience of fatigue, mental distress, or HRQOL.

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