Background: Skeletal metastatic disease excludes many cancer patients from participating in exercise and physical activity due to safety concerns. Empirical evidence from high-quality trials is warranted to guide clinicians and patients.
Objective: To evaluate the safety and potential benefits of high-impact aerobic exercise in patients with prostate cancer with skeletal metastases.
Design: Exploratory subgroup analysis of a pragmatic, multicentre, parallel randomised controlled trial.
Setting: The trial recruited 214 patients from five hospital urological departments in Denmark.
Participants: Patients with prostate cancer with skeletal metastases (n = 41).
Intervention: Six months of football training twice weekly at a local club or usual care. Both groups received brief information on physical activity recommendations at the time of randomisation.
Main outcome(s) and measure(s): Safety, defined as falls, fractures and hospital admissions. Effects were evaluated on the primary outcome (prostate cancer-specific quality of life) and secondary outcomes (lean body mass, fat mass, hip and spine bone mineral density, and general physical and mental health).
Results: The original trial comprised 214 participants, 41 of whom had skeletal metastases at enrolment. Of these, 22 were allocated to football and 19 to usual care. The trial retention rate was 95% at 12 weeks and 88% at 6 months. Football participants attended 13 sessions on average at 12 weeks and 23 at 6 months. There were two falls, one in each group after 6 months, and no fractures. There were four unplanned hospital admissions in the study period, all four in the usual care group. Statistically significant between-group difference was observed in the primary outcome change in prostate cancer-specific quality of life at 12 weeks (7.6 points [95% CI 0.5 to 15.0]; P = 0.038). No statistical changes were found in the secondary outcomes.
Conclusion: The analysis showed that football training was safe in patients with skeletal metastatic prostate cancer and significantly improved quality of life. Larger analyses and/or trials are warranted to confirm the safety of exercise more broadly in cancer patients with skeletal metastatic disease.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02430792 . Date of registration 30 April 2015.
Keywords: Cancer survivor; Community; Exercise; Rehabilitation; Soccer.