Objective: To show fatigue prevention and quality of life (QOL) improvement from cardiovascular exercise during radiotherapy.
Design: Prospective enrollment (n=21), randomized to exercise (n=11) and control groups (n=10), with pre- and post-radiotherapy between- and within-group comparisons.
Setting: Academic medical center.
Participants: Localized prostate cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.
Interventions: The interventional group received radiotherapy plus aerobic exercise 3 times a week for 8 weeks whereas the control group received radiotherapy without exercise.
Main outcome measures: Pre- and post-radiotherapy differences in cardiac fitness, fatigue, depression, functional status, physical, social, and functional well-being, leg strength, and flexibility were examined within and between 2 groups.
Results: No significant differences existed between 2 groups at pre-radiotherapy assessment. At post-radiotherapy assessment, the exercise group showed significant within group improvements in: cardiac fitness (P<.001), fatigue (P=.02), Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Prostate (FACT-P) (P=.04), physical well-being (P=.002), social well-being (P=.02), flexibility (P=.006), and leg strength (P=.000). Within the control group, there was a significant increase in fatigue score (P=.004) and a decline in social well-being (P<.05) at post-radiotherapy assessment. Between-group differences at post-radiotherapy assessment were significant in cardiac fitness (P=.006), strength (P=.000), flexibility (P<.01), fatigue (P<.001), FACT-P (P=.006), physical well-being (P<.001), social well-being (P=.002), and functional well-being (P=.04).
Conclusions: An 8-week cardiovascular exercise program in patients with localized prostate cancer undergoing radiotherapy improved cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, muscle strength, and overall QOL and prevented fatigue.