Supervised physical exercise improves VO2max, quality of life, and health in early stage breast cancer patients: a randomized controlled trial
Daniel A. Galvao, Edith Cowan University
Robert U. Newton, Edith Cowan University
Springer New York LLC
Health and Wellness Institute
Breast cancer patients suffer impairment in cardiorespiratory fitness after treatment for primary disease, affecting patients’ health and survival. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of a pragmatic exercise intervention to improve cardiorespiratory fitness of breast cancer patients after primary treatment. Between February 2013 and December 2014, 94 women with early stage (I–III) breast cancer, 1–36 months post-chemotherapy, and radiotherapy were randomly assigned to an intervention program (EX) combining supervised aerobic and resistance exercise (n = 44) or usual care (CON) (n = 45) for 12 weeks. Primary study endpoint was VO2max. Secondary endpoints were muscle strength, shoulder range of motion, body composition, and quality of life (QoL). Assessments were undertaken at baseline, 12-week, and 6-month follow-ups. Eighty-nine patients aged 29–69 years were assessed at baseline and 12 weeks. The EX group showed significant improvements in VO2max, muscle strength, percent fat, and lean mass (p ≤ 0.001 in all cases) and QoL compared with usual care (CON). Apart from body composition, improvements were maintained for the EX at 6-month follow-up. There were no adverse events during the testing or exercise intervention program. A combined exercise intervention produced considerable improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness, physical function, and quality of life in breast cancer patients previously treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Importantly, most of these benefits were maintained 6 months after ceasing the supervised exercise intervention.