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Effects of Exercise Interventions on Breast Cancer Patients During Adjuvant Therapy

A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Lee, Junga, PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000682
Article: PDF Only

Background: Effects of exercise interventions on patients with breast cancer (BC) have shown benefits regardless of the measured variables, although the type of exercise and its duration during adjuvant therapy are unclear.

Objective: We investigated the effects of exercise interventions on each measurement, physical fitness, quality of life (QL), fatigue, depression, anxiety, and body compositions and found effective exercise interventions during adjuvant therapy for BC.

Methods: Twenty-nine studies were found by searching the databases of MEDLINE and EMBASE from January 2000 to February 2018. Randomized controlled trials that investigated the effects of exercise on physical and psychological outcomes in BC patients during adjuvant therapy were selected in this meta-analysis. The size of the effect for each variable from the selected studies considered the method of measurement and was calculated using the standardized mean difference statistic.

Results: A total of 2989 BC patients were included. Exercise interventions had positive outcomes in physical fitness, handgrip strength, QL, fatigue, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, % body fat, and body mass index. Exercise interventions were an average of 150 minutes, 3 times per week, for 17 weeks and consisted of moderate to vigorous (~60% of VO2peak), aerobic, resistance, or combined exercises.

Conclusions: Interventions that involve moderate to vigorous exercise 150 minutes for 3 times per week and in any modality may provide a better outcome for BC patients during adjuvant therapy.

Implications for Practice: Empowering BC patients to implement these exercise interventions could not only improve their health and QL, but also reduce fatigue, depression, and anxiety during adjuvant therapy.

Author Affiliation: Graduate School of Sport Science, Kyung Hee University, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea.

This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016S1A5B5A02024932).

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Junga Lee, PhD, Graduate School of Sport Science, Kyung Hee University, Gyeonggi-do 446-701, Republic of Korea (

Accepted for publication October 2, 2018.

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