Purpose: Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are at increased risk of obesity and deconditioning from cancer therapy. This pilot study assessed feasibility/initial efficacy of an exercise intervention for patients with ALL undergoing maintenance therapy.
Methods: Participants were aged 5 to 10 years, receiving maintenance therapy, in first remission. A 6-month home-based intervention, with written and video instruction, was supervised with weekly calls from an exercise coach. Pre- and poststudy testing addressed strength, flexibility, fitness, and motor function.
Results: Seventeen patients enrolled (participation 63%). Twelve (71%) finished the intervention, completing 81.7 ± 7.2% of prescribed sessions. Improvements of 5% or more occurred in 67% for knee and 75% for grip strength, 58% for hamstring/low-back and 83% for ankle flexibility, 75% for the 6-Minute Walk Test, and 33% for performance on the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency Version 2.
Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrated that exercise intervention during ALL therapy is feasible and has promise for efficacy.