Resistance training in advanced cancer: a phase II safety and feasibility trial-home versus hospital

BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2022 Sep;12(3):287-291. doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002230. Epub 2020 Aug 13.


Background: Resistance training (RT) is an effective way to increase muscle mass but little is known about its role to prevent sarcopenia in advanced cancer. Furthermore, the preferred setting for this training is not known. Considering home is frequently the place of care and death preferred by cancer patients, it is important to find out whether this would also be the best training setting as opposed to the most common one, hospital.

Objectives: We aimed to test if RT at home and in hospital is feasible (primary outcome) and safe in advanced cancer, with a view to inform a phase III trial.

Methods: Phase II randomised controlled trial including adults (≥18 years) with incurable solid tumours, randomised into one of three arms: (1) supervised RT at home; (2) supervised RT in hospital; (3) standard care with information leaflet. Both training programmes were similar, ran one-to-one with therapists and planned to last 12 weeks (three sessions/week). Feasibility included adherence (proportion of completed sessions) and acceptability (proportion of completed exercises), compared using Fisher's test.

Results: We included 15 patients (53% men, median age 68), 5 per arm. The home intervention had higher adherence (49% vs 9% in hospital; p<0.001). Acceptability was similar (93% in home and 95% in hospital; p=0.179). No adverse events were recorded.

Conclusions: RT is a safe intervention, more feasible at home than in hospital in advanced cancer. Ways to increase adherence to the home intervention could further improve its potential benefit.

Trial registration number: NCT02930876.

Keywords: cancer; home care; hospital care; quality of life; rehabilitation; supportive care.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Resistance Training*

Associated data