The effect of resistance exercise on all-cause mortality in cancer survivors

Mayo Clin Proc. 2014 Aug;89(8):1108-15. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.03.018. Epub 2014 Jun 21.


Objective: To examine the independent associations of leisure-time aerobic physical activity (PA) and resistance exercise (RE) on all-cause mortality in cancer survivors.

Patients and methods: Patients included 2863 male and female cancer survivors, aged 18 to 81 years, who received a preventive medical examination between April 8, 1987, and December 27, 2002, while enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study in Dallas, Texas. Physical activity and RE were assessed by self-report at the baseline medical examination. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was performed to determine the independent associations of PA and RE with all-cause mortality in participants who had a history of cancer.

Results: Physical activity in cancer survivors was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality. In contrast, RE was associated with a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality (95% CI, 0.45-0.99) after adjusting for potential confounders, including PA.

Conclusion: Individuals who participated in RE during cancer survival had a lower risk for all-cause mortality. The present findings provide preliminary evidence for benefits of RE during cancer survival. Future randomized controlled trials examining RE and its effect on lean body mass, muscular strength, and all-cause mortality in cancer survivors are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Resistance Training*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult