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Exercise Intervention During Chemotherapy Beneficial

Intervention during chemo linked to lower decreases in VO2peak, health-related QoL, muscle strength immediately postchemotherapy

THURSDAY, Oct. 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — An exercise intervention performed during chemotherapy can prevent fatigue and reduce decreases in cardiorespiratory fitness (peak oxygen uptake [VO2peak]), according to a study published online Oct. 18 in JACC: CardioOncology.

Gabriela G.F. van der Schoot, M.D., from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a clinical trial involving patients scheduled to receive curative chemotherapy who were randomly assigned to a 24-week exercise intervention, initiated during chemotherapy or afterward (groups A and B, respectively). The primary end point was VO2peak at one year postintervention. Patients with breast (139), testicular (95), and colon cancer (30) were included, as were two lymphoma patients.

The researchers found no difference between the groups in VO2peak immediately postintervention and at one year postintervention. Compared with patients in group B, those in group A exhibited significantly lower decreases in VO2peak, health-related quality of life, and muscle strength immediately postchemotherapy, and they reported less fatigue and more physical activity.

“These findings suggest that the most optimal timing of physical exercise is during chemotherapy. However, initiating a physical exercise program after chemotherapy is a viable alternative when exercising during chemotherapy is not possible,” one coauthor said in a statement. “We hope our findings motivate health care providers to guide patients to engage in exercise interventions during anti-cancer treatment.”

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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