COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Tai Chi Exercise for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients With Lung Cancer Undergoing Chemotherapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Li-Li Zhang, Su-Zhen Wang, Hong-Lin Chen, A-Zhen Yuan
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2016, 51 (3): 504-11
26721747

CONTEXT: Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese health-promoting exercise. It has been shown to enhance mental health and improve psychological condition.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to assess the effectiveness of Tai Chi exercise for cancer-related fatigue in patients with lung cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

METHODS: We conducted a randomized trial of Tai Chi exercise as compared with low-impact exercise as a control intervention. Exercises were practiced every other day, a one-hour session for 12 weeks for each of the study groups. The primary end point was a change in total score of the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory-Short Form (MFSI-SF). Secondary end points were changes in five subscale scores of the MFSI-SF. All assessments were repeated at three time points, T0: before first course of chemotherapy; T1: before third course of chemotherapy; and T2: at the end of the fourth course of chemotherapy.

RESULTS: Between January 2012 and December 2014, 96 patients were enrolled in this trial. At six and 12 weeks, the Tai Chi group had a lower MFSI-SF total score compared with the control group (59.5 ± 11.3 vs. 66.8 ± 11.9, P < 0.05; 53.3 ± 11.8 vs. 59.3 ± 12.2, P < 0.05). At six weeks, the Tai Chi group had lower MFSI-SF general subscale scores (18.1 ± 4.6 vs. 20.4 ± 4.5, P < 0.05) and physical subscale scores (17.5 ± 4.4 vs. 19.1 ± 4.5, P < 0.05), and higher MFSI-SF vigor subscale scores (14.5 ± 3.3 vs. 11.6 ± 3.4, P < 0.05), compared with the control group. But no significant differences were found in emotional subscale (20.2 ± 3.6 vs. 20.0 ± 3.5, P > 0.05) and mental subscale (18.2 ± 4.0 vs. 18.9 ± 3.9, P > 0.05) scores between the Tai Chi group and the control group. At 12 weeks, the MFSI-SF subscale scores showed the same trends as at six weeks.

CONCLUSION: Tai Chi is an effective intervention for managing cancer-related fatigue in patients with lung cancer undergoing chemotherapy, especially for decreasing general fatigue and physical fatigue, and increasing vigor.

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