Introduction: The evidence on the effectiveness of rehabilitation in lung cancer patients is limited. Whole body vibration (WBV) has been proposed as an alternative to conventional resistance training (CRT).
Methods: We investigated the effect of radical treatment (RT) and of two rehabilitation programmes in lung cancer patients. The primary endpoint was a change in 6-min walking distance (6MWD) after rehabilitation. Patients were randomised after RT to either CRT, WBVT or standard follow-up (CON). Patients were evaluated before, after RT and after 12 weeks of intervention.
Results: Of 121 included patients, 70 were randomised to either CON (24), CRT (24) or WBVT (22). After RT, 6MWD decreased with a mean of 38m (95% CI 22-54) and increased with a mean of 95m (95% CI 58-132) in CRT (p<0.0001), 37m (95% CI -1-76) in WBVT (p=0.06) and 1m (95% CI -34-36) in CON (p=0.95), respectively. Surgical treatment, magnitude of decrease in 6MWD by RT and allocation to either CRT or WBVT were prognostic for reaching the minimally clinically important difference of 54m increase in 6MWD after intervention.
Conclusions: RT of lung cancer significantly impairs patients' exercise capacity. CRT significantly improves and restores functional exercise capacity, whereas WBVT does not fully substitute for CRT.
Keywords: Exercise; Lung cancer; Pulmonary rehabilitation; Radical treatment; Resistance training; Whole body vibration.
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