Physical activity measured using global positioning system tracking in non-small cell lung cancer: an observational study

Integr Cancer Ther. 2014 Nov;13(6):482-92. doi: 10.1177/1534735414542484. Epub 2014 Jul 7.


Introduction: Increasingly physical activity (PA) is being recognized as an important outcome in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We investigated PA using novel global positioning system (GPS) tracking individuals with NSCLC and a group of similar-aged healthy individuals.

Methods: A prospective cross-sectional multicenter study. Fifty individuals with NSCLC from 3 Australian tertiary hospitals and 35 similar-aged healthy individuals without cancer were included. Individuals with NSCLC were assessed pretreatment. Primary measures were triaxial accelerometery (steps/day) and GPS tracking (outdoor PA behavior). Secondary measures were questionnaires assessing depression, motivation to exercise, and environmental barriers to PA. Between-group comparisons were analyzed using analysis of covariance.

Results: Individuals with NSCLC engaged in significantly less PA than similar-aged healthy individuals (mean difference 2363 steps/day, P = .007) and had higher levels of depression (P = .027) and lower motivation to exercise (P = .001). Daily outdoor walking time (P = .874) and distance travelled away from home (P = .883) were not different between groups. Individuals with NSCLC spent less time outdoors in their local neighborhood area (P < .001). A greater number of steps per day was seen in patients who were less depressed (r = .39) or had better access to nonresidential destinations such as shopping centers (r = .25).

Conclusion: Global positioning system tracking appears to be a feasible methodology for adult cancer patients and holds promise for use in future studies investigating PA and or lifestyle behaviors.

Keywords: exercise; global positioning system (GPS) tracking; lung cancer; outdoor behavior; physical activity.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / methods
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking / physiology