Effects of Different Exercise Modalities on Fatigue in Prostate Cancer Patients Undergoing Androgen Deprivation Therapy: A Year-long Randomised Controlled Trial

Eur Urol. 2017 Aug;72(2):293-299. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2017.02.019. Epub 2017 Feb 27.


Background: Physical exercise mitigates fatigue during androgen deprivation therapy (ADT); however, the effects of different exercise prescriptions are unknown.

Objectives: To determine the long-term effects of different exercise modes on fatigue in prostate cancer patients undergoing ADT.

Design, setting, and participants: Between 2009 and 2012, 163 prostate cancer patients aged 43-90 y on ADT were randomised to exercise targeting the musculoskeletal system (impact loading+resistance training; ILRT; n=58), the cardiovascular and muscular systems (aerobic+resistance training; ART; n=54), or to usual care/delayed exercise (DEL; n=51) for 12 mo across university-affiliated exercise clinics in Australia.

Intervention: Supervised ILRT for 12 mo, supervised ART for 6 mo followed by a 6-mo home program, and DEL received a printed booklet on exercise information for 6 mo followed by 6-mo stationary cycling exercise.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Fatigue was assessed using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 36 and vitality using the Short Form-36. Analysis of variance was used to compare outcomes for groups at 6 mo and 12 mo.

Results and limitations: Fatigue was reduced (p=0.005) in ILRT at 6 mo and 12 mo (∼5 points), and in ART (p=0.005) and DEL (p=0.022) at 12 mo. Similarly, vitality increased for all groups (p≤0.001) at 12 mo (∼4 points). Those with the highest levels of fatigue and lowest vitality improved the most with exercise (ptrend<0.001). A limitation was inclusion of mostly well-functioning individuals.

Conclusions: Different exercise modes have comparable effects on reducing fatigue and enhancing vitality during ADT. Patients with the highest levels of fatigue and lowest vitality had the greatest benefits.

Patient summary: We compared the effects of different exercise modes on fatigue in men on androgen deprivation therapy. All exercise programs reduced fatigue and enhanced vitality. We conclude that undertaking some form of exercise will help reduce fatigue, especially in those who are the most fatigued.

Keywords: Aerobic exercise; Androgen deprivation therapy; Exercise; Exercise prescription; Fatigue; Prostate cancer; Resistance exercise.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Androgen Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / adverse effects*
  • Bicycling
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Pamphlets
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Queensland
  • Resistance Training
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Western Australia


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal

Associated data

  • ANZCTR/ACTRN12609000200280