Supervised versus autonomous exercise training in breast cancer patients: A multicenter randomized clinical trial

Cancer Med. 2018 Dec;7(12):5962-5972. doi: 10.1002/cam4.1851. Epub 2018 Nov 10.


Background: There is a well-known correlation between obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and breast cancer incidence and outcome. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Medikamentöse Tumortherapie (AGMT) exercise study was a multicenter, randomized clinical trial and assessed the feasibility and efficacy of physical training in 50 breast cancer patients undergoing aromatase inhibitor treatment.

Methods: Postmenopausal, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patients under aromatase inhibitor treatment were randomized 1:1 to counseling and unsupervised training for 48 weeks (unsupervised arm) or counseling and a sequential training (supervised arm) with a supervised phase (24 weeks) followed by unsupervised physical training (further 24 weeks). Primary endpoint was the individual maximum power output on a cycle ergometer after 24 weeks of exercise. A key secondary endpoint was the feasibility of achieving 12 METh/week (metabolic equivalent of task hours per week).

Results: Twenty-three patients (92%) in the unsupervised arm and 19 patients (76%) in the supervised arm with early-stage breast cancer completed the study. After 24 weeks, the supervised arm achieved a significantly higher maximum output in watt (mean 132 ± standard deviation [SD] 34; 95% confidence interval [CI] 117-147) compared to baseline (107 ± 25; 95%CI 97-117; P = 0.012) with a numerically higher output than the unsupervised arm (week 24 115 ± 25; 95%CI 105-125; P = 0.059). Significantly higher METh/week was reported in the supervised arm compared to the unsupervised arm during the whole study period (week 1-24 unsupervised: 18.3 (7.6-58.3); supervised: 28.5 (6.7-40.1); P = 0.043; week 25-48; P = 0.041)).

Conclusion: This trial indicates that patients in an exercise program achieve higher fitness levels during supervised than unsupervised training.

Trial registration: NCT01384838.

Keywords: breast cancer; early; endocrine therapy; exercise; postmenopausal.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance*


  • Aromatase Inhibitors

Associated data