The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a relatively short (8-weeks) period of detraining on cardiorespiratory capacity, dynamic strength endurance, task specific functional muscle capacity and quality of life (QOL) of breast cancer survivors who had previously undergone a combined supervised (aerobic and resistance) training program. Eleven women survivors of stage I - II ductal breast carcinoma (47 +/- 7 yrs) entered the study and performed a battery of tests (including anthropometric evaluation, a graded cycle ergometer test, tests of strength endurance [leg and bench press] and the sit-stand test) and completed a specific QOL questionnaire (EORTC-C30) at three time points: i) before, ii) after an exercise program (including aerobic and resistance exercises) of 8-weeks duration, and iii) after a subsequent 8-weeks period of training cessation. Training-induced improvements in strength endurance, muscle functional capacity (sit-stand test) and QOL were not significantly changed after detraining (p > 0.05 for post-training vs. detraining comparisons). The lack of significant loss in muscle strength endurance occurred despite significant losses in estimated total muscle mass after detraining (27.3 +/- 2.4 kg) compared with post-training (28.5 +/- 2.9 kg). In contrast, cardiorespiratory capacity was significantly decreased during detraining (V.O (2peak) of 29.0 +/- 4.6 vs. 22.7 +/- 3.9 ml . kg ( -1) . min (-1) at post-training vs. detraining, p < 0.01). In conclusion, cancer survivors who have participated in a combined training program can retain some of the training gains (particularly improved QOL and muscle strength endurance/functional performance) after a relatively short duration detraining period.