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01-12-2009 | Oncology | Article

Moderate exercise can reduce side effects of hormone therapy for prostate cancer


Free abstract

MedWire News: A brief program of resistance and aerobic exercise significantly relieves the adverse effects of androgen suppression therapy (AST) in prostate cancer patients, researchers report.

A 12-week exercise program was found to improve muscle mass, strength, physical function, and balance in men with prostate cancer with no adverse effects.

“AST can negatively affect muscle strength and function,” say Daniel Galvão, from Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, Western Australia, and colleagues.

“Our program resulted in a significant improvement in upper and lower body muscle strength compared with usual care,” they say.

The team randomly assigned 29 prostate cancer patients treated for at least 2 months with AST to participate in a 12-week program of resistance exercises, comprising chest and leg presses and aerobic exercise, including 15–20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, twice a week.

A group of 28 men with the same treatment history were given standard care during the 12-week period, after which the researchers compared variables between the two groups including; whole body and regional lean mass, muscle strength and function, cardiorespiratory capacity, and quality of life.

The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, show that men in the exercise group had a significantly improved total body lean mass compared with the men given standard care. The mean difference between the groups was 0.8 kg, which encompasses differences in upper limb, lower limb, and appendicular skeletal muscle mass.

Muscle strength and endurance also differed significantly between the two groups, with men in the exercise group able to lift, on average,31 kg more on the leg press, and 3 kg more on the chest press than men in the usual care group.

The researchers note that an improvement in muscle endurance may lead to patients completing daily tasks with less fatigue, and hence the reduced muscle loss resulting from the exercise program “is clinically meaningful.”

Cardiorespiratory fitness was significantly improved in the exercise group, as was balance, shown in improved 6-minute walk times, number of chair rises, and 6-minute backward walk balance. Furthermore, the men’s quality of life assessment scores were higher in the exercise group than in the usual care group, significantly so for general health and fatigue.

“The training regimen was well tolerated in this patient group and could be recommended for patients undergoing AST as an effective countermeasure for treatment-related adverse effects to the musculoskeletal system and to improve well-being,” the team concludes.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Sarah Guy

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