Effects of supervised aerobic exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness and patient-reported health outcomes in colorectal cancer patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy—a pilot study

Eva M. Zopf, Holger Schulz, Jonas Poeschko, Kerstin Aschenbroich, Thomas Wilhelm, Ernst Eypasch, Elmar Kleimann, Kai Severin, Jutta Benz, Enwu Liu, Wilhelm Bloch, Freerk T. Baumann

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Abstract

Purpose: Colorectal cancer and its treatment are associated with debilitating side effects. Exercise may improve the physical and psychological wellbeing of cancer patients; however, evidence in colorectal cancer patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy is limited. This pilot study aimed to explore the effects of supervised aerobic exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness and patient-reported health outcomes in colorectal cancer patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy. Methods: Patients who had undergone curative resection for colorectal cancer (stages II–III) and were scheduled to receive adjuvant chemotherapy were enrolled into this non-randomized controlled trial. Patients in the intervention group (IG) took part in a 6-month supervised aerobic exercise program, while the control group (CG) received usual care. Cardiorespiratory fitness (measured by peak oxygen consumption) was assessed at baseline and 6 months. Fatigue, quality of life, and physical activity levels were additionally assessed at 3 months. Results: In total, 59 patients (33 in IG vs. 26 in CG) were enrolled into this study. Eighteen patients (9 in IG vs. 9 in CG) dropped out of the study prior to the 6-month follow-up. Significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness (p =.002) and selected patient-reported health outcomes, such as reduced motivation (p =.015) and mental fatigue (p =.018), were observed in the IG when compared to the CG. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the effects of a supervised aerobic exercise program in colorectal cancer patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy. The significant and clinically meaningful improvements in CRF warrant further randomized controlled trials to confirm these findings. Trials registration: German Clinical Trials Register Identifier: DRKS00005793, 11/03/2014, retrospectively registered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1945-1955
Number of pages11
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Colorectal neoplasms
  • Fatigue
  • Physical activity
  • Physical fitness
  • Quality of life

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