Can exercise influence survival following breast cancer? Evidence from randomized, controlled trialsName : Dr. Sandi Hayes
Affliation : Professor
University : Queensland University of Technology
Country : Australia
Background: The Exercise for Health (EfH) trials were randomized, controlled trials designed to evaluate an 8-month pragmatic, exercise intervention, commencing 6 weeks post-surgery for women with newly diagnosed breast cancer residing in urban- or rural/regional areas. Outcomes for these exploratory analyses were overall survival (OS), breast cancer-specific survival (BCS) and disease-free survival (DFS). Methods: Consenting urban-residing women (EfH 1, n=194) and rural/regional-residing women (EfH 2, n=143) were randomized to exercise or usual care. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for OS, BCS and DFS (exercise group, n=207, 65% urban women; usual care group, n=130, 46% urban women), with and without adjustment for prognostic factors including trial (urban/rural), age, body mass index, disease stage and presence of comorbidities. Further exploratory subgroup analyses were also conducted to assess whether effect on OS, BCS and DFS differed according to prognostic variables. Results: After a median follow-up of 8.3 years (IQR: 8.0-8.7 years) there were 11 (5.3%) deaths in the exercise group compared with 15 (11.5%) deaths in the usual care group (Table 1). HRs for the exercise group were: OS: 0.45, 95% CI=0.20-0.96; p=0.04; BCS: 0.61, 95% CI=0.25-1.46, p=0.26; and DFS: 0.66, 95% CI=0.38-1.17; p=0.16 (adjusted analyses yielded similar results). With the exception of BCS for those with a body mass index >30, all HRs for subgroup analyses favored exercise, with effect on OS for women of younger age (<55), those with stage II+ disease, and those with 1+ comorbidity at baseline significant (p<0.05). Effect of exercise on DFS was also significant (p<0.05) for urban women. Conclusion: Findings suggest that an individually-prescribed and monitored exercise program integrated during and beyond treatment for breast cancer, and that was designed to cater for all women, irrespective of place of residence and access to health services, has clear potential to influence survival.
Professor Sandi Hayes is a Principal Research Fellow within the School of Public Health, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology and co-leads QUT Improving Health Outcomes for People.
Professor Hayes’ research experience and interests relate to understanding recovery following cancer treatment. Her work has a particular focus on improving understanding of lymphoedema (swelling) caused by cancer treatment, as well as understanding the role of exercise in ‘bridging the gap’ between treatment cessation and the return to ‘normal’ daily lives for cancer survivors.