Predictors of lower exercise capacity in patients with cancer

Sci Rep. 2023 Sep 8;13(1):14861. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-41390-0.


Maintaining cancer patients' exercise capacity and therefore patients' ability to live a self-determined life is of huge importance, but little is known about major determinants. We sought to identify determinants of exercise capacity in patients with a broad spectrum of cancer types, who were already receiving cancer treatment or about to commence such therapy. Exercise capacity was assessed in 253 consecutive patients mostly suffering from advanced cancer using the 6-min walk test (6-MWT). All patients underwent echocardiography, physical examination, resting electrocardiogram, hand grip strength (HGS) measurement, and laboratory assessments. Patients were divided into two groups according to the median distance in the 6-MWT (459 m). Patients with lower exercise capacity were older, had significantly lower HGS and haemoglobin and higher values of high sensitive (hs) Troponin T and NT-proBNP (all p < 0.05). Whilst the co-morbidity burden was significantly higher in this group, no differences were detected for sex, body mass index, tumor type, or cachexia (all p > 0.2). Using multivariable logistic regression, we found that the presence of anaemia (odds ratio (OR) 6.172, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.401-27.201, p = 0.016) as well as an increase in hs Troponin T (OR 3.077, 95% CI 1.202-5.301, p = 0.019) remained independent predictors of impaired exercise capacity. Increasing HGS was associated with a reduced risk of a lower exercise capacity (OR 0.896, 95% CI 0.813-0.987, p = 0.026). Screening patients for elevated hs troponin levels as well as reduced HGS may help to identify patients at risk of lower exercise capacity during cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms*
  • Troponin T


  • Troponin T