Eccentric exercise versus usual-care with older cancer survivors: the impact on muscle and mobility--an exploratory pilot study

BMC Geriatr. 2011 Jan 27;11:5. doi: 10.1186/1471-2318-11-5.


Background: Resistance exercise programs with high compliance are needed to counter impaired muscle and mobility in older cancer survivors. To date outcomes have focused on older prostate cancer survivors, though more heterogeneous groups of older survivors are in-need. The purpose of this exploratory pilot study is to examine whether resistance exercise via negative eccentrically-induced work (RENEW) improves muscle and mobility in a diverse sample of older cancer survivors.

Methods: A total of 40 individuals (25 female, 15 male) with a mean age of 74 (± 6) years who have survived (8.4 ± 8 years) since their cancer diagnosis (breast, prostate, colorectal and lymphoma) were assigned to a RENEW group or a non-exercise Usual-care group. RENEW was performed for 12 weeks and measures of muscle size, strength, power and mobility were made pre and post training.

Results: RENEW induced increases in quadriceps lean tissue average cross sectional area (Pre: 43.2 ± 10.8 cm2; Post: 44.9 ± 10.9 cm2), knee extension peak strength (Pre: 248.3 ± 10.8 N; Post: 275.4 ± 10.9 N), leg extension muscle power (Pre: 198.2 ± 74.7 W; Post 255.5 ± 87.3 W), six minute walk distance (Pre: 417.2 ± 127.1 m; Post 466.9 ± 125.1 m) and a decrease on the time to safely descend stairs (Pre: 6.8 ± 4.5 s; Post 5.4 ± 2.5 s). A significant (P < 0.05) group x time interaction was noted for the muscle size and mobility improvements.

Conclusions: This exploration of RENEW in a heterogeneous cohort of older cancer survivors demonstrates increases in muscle size, strength and power along with improved mobility. The efficacy of a high-force, low perceived exertion exercise suggests RENEW may be suited to older individuals who are survivors of cancer.

Trial registration: NCT00335491.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / physiology
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiology
  • Resistance Training*
  • Survivors

Associated data