We evaluated the effectiveness of a low-intensity, home-based physical activity program (Onco-Move) and a moderate- to high-intensity, combined supervised resistance and aerobic exercise program (OnTrack) versus usual care (UC) in maintaining or enhancing physical fitness, minimizing fatigue, enhancing health-related quality of life, and optimizing chemotherapy completion rates in patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer.
Patients and Methods
We randomly assigned patients who were scheduled to undergo adjuvant chemotherapy (N = 230) to Onco-Move, OnTrack, or UC. Performance-based and self-reported outcomes were assessed before random assignment, at the end of chemotherapy, and at the 6-month follow-up. We used generalized estimating equations to compare the groups over time.
Onco-Move and OnTrack resulted in less decline in cardiorespiratory fitness (P < .001), better physical functioning (P ≤ .001), less nausea and vomiting (P = .029 and .031, respectively) and less pain (P = .003 and .011, respectively) compared with UC. OnTrack also resulted in better outcomes for muscle strength (P = .002) and physical fatigue (P < .001). At the 6-month follow-up, most outcomes returned to baseline levels for all three groups. A smaller percentage of participants in OnTrack required chemotherapy dose adjustments than those in the UC or Onco-Move groups (P = .002). Both intervention groups returned earlier (P = .012), as well as for more hours per week (P = .014), to work than the control group.
A supervised, moderate- to high-intensity, combined resistance and aerobic exercise program is most effective for patients with breast cancer undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy. A home-based, low-intensity physical activity program represents a viable alternative for women who are unable or unwilling to follow the higher intensity program.