Background: Observational studies indicate that physical activity (PA) is strongly associated with improved disease outcomes in colon cancer survivors, but a randomized controlled trial is needed to determine whether the association is causal and whether new policies to promote exercise are justified.
Purpose: The co.21 Colon Health and Life-Long Exercise Change (challenge) trial undertaken by the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) is designed to determine the effects of a structured pa intervention on outcomes for survivors of high-risk stage II or III colon cancer who have completed adjuvant therapy within the previous 2-6 months.
Methods: Trial participants (n = 962) will be stratified by centre, disease stage, body mass index, and performance status, and will be randomly assigned to a structured pa intervention or to general health education materials. The pa intervention will consist of a behavioural support program and supervised pa sessions delivered over a 3-year period, beginning with regular face-to-face sessions and tapering to less frequent face-to-face or telephone sessions. The primary endpoint is disease-free survival. Important secondary endpoints include multiple patient-reported outcomes, objective physical functioning, biologic correlative markers, and an economic analysis.
Summary: Cancer survivors and cancer care professionals are interested in the potential role of PA to improve multiple disease-related outcomes, but a randomized controlled trial is needed to provide compelling evidence to justify changes in health care policies and practice.
Keywords: Behavioural oncology; cancer survivor; disease-free survival; exercise; lifestyle; physical activity; quality of life; survivorship.