Evaluation of a clinic-based exercise program in patients with pancreatic cancer undergoing nonsurgical treatment
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Exercise Medicine Research Institute / School of Medical and Health Sciences
Introduction: Evidence regarding the role of exercise in pancreatic cancer (PanCa) is limited and is derived exclusively under tightly controlled research conditions. This study aimed to quantify adherence, adverse events, and changes in physical and psychological outcomes in any patients with PanCa referred to undertake exercise during nonsurgical treatment. Methods: The study involved 22 patients with localized or metastatic PanCa undertaking a clinic-based exercise program during chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. The program included supervised aerobic and resistance exercise undertaken twice weekly for 12 wk and a 12-wk follow-up with supervised exercise optional dependent on patient preference and condition. Patients were monitored for adherence and adverse events. Objective and patient-reported outcomes were assessed at baseline, 12 wk, and 24 wk. Results: A total of 251 sessions were attended by 19 patients over the first 12 wk (attendance rate, 55 %). Complete case analyses indicated significant (P < 0.05) improvements in functional ability (5.2 % - 17.2 %), muscle strength (16.9 % - 25.1 %), and static balance (6.8 %). There were no significant changes in body composition or patient-reported outcomes except for sleep quality, which deteriorated; however, at an individual level, several patients had clinically relevant improvements in cancer-related fatigue and quality of life. Patients who continued with supervised exercise to week 24 largely preserved improvements in functional ability, muscle strength, and static balance. No serious adverse events resulted from the exercise program. Conclusions: Individualized, supervised aerobic and resistance exercise in a clinic-based setting appears to be safe and may improve or maintain physical and psychological health in patients with PanCa undergoing nonsurgical treatment.