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Comparison of the Effects of a Supervised Exercise Program and Usual Care in Patients With Colorectal Cancer Undergoing Chemotherapy

Lin, Kuan-Yin MS; Shun, Shiow-Ching PhD; Lai, Yeur-Hur PhD; Liang, Jin-Tung PhD; Tsauo, Jau-Yih PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e3182791097
Articles: Online Only

Background: Although exercise has been addressed as a promising therapy for cancer adverse effects, few studies have evaluated the beneficial effects of exercise for colorectal cancer (CRC) patients during chemotherapy.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of supervised-exercise intervention with those of usual care on cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, fatigue, emotional distress, sleep quality, and quality of life (QoL) in patients with CRC undergoing chemotherapy.

Methods: Patients with stage II or III CRC admitted for adjuvant chemotherapy were allocated to either a supervised-exercise group that received a combined aerobic and resistance exercise program or a “usual care” control group for 12 weeks. The outcomes, QoL, muscle strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, emotional distress, physical activity, fatigue, and sleep quality, were assessed at baseline and after intervention.

Results: Significant interactions between intervention and time were observed for the role functioning and pain subscales of QoL and physical activity level. The time main effects were significant for the secondary outcomes: hand-grip strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, physical activity level, and physical functioning, role functioning, social functioning, fatigue, and pain subscales of QoL.

Conclusion: Compared with usual care, the supervised exercise demonstrated larger effects than usual care on physical activity level and role functioning and pain subscales of QoL.

Implications for Practice: Supervised-exercise program is suggested to be incorporated as part of supportive care to promote the cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, physical activity level, and QoL of patients with CRC undergoing chemotherapy.

Author Affiliations: School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy (MsLin and Dr Tsauo) and Department of Nursing (Drs Shun and Lai), College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, and Department of Surgery,College of Medicine, National Taiwan University and Hospital (Dr Liang), Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.

This work was funded by grant from the College of Medicine of National Taiwan University (Aim for the Top University Program). The authors’ work was independent of the funders.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Jau-Yih Tsauo, PhD, School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, 3F, No. 17 Xuzhou Rd, Taipei, Taiwan 100, Republic of China (

Accepted for publication October 11, 2012.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins