Maximal exercise testing of men with prostate cancer being treated with androgen deprivation therapy
Exercise is being increasingly established as a key adjuvant therapy in clinical oncology. As research has demonstrated the beneficial effect of exercise for cancer management, a growing number of patients with cancer are undertaking structured exercise programs. Purpose: This study aimed to determine the safety and feasibility of formal exercise testing in clinical settings as it is becoming increasingly used as a screening tool and for exercise prescription purposes. Methods: One hundred and twelve patients with prostate cancer undergoing androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) took part in a physician-supervised multistage maximal stress test (Bruce protocol). Sixty patients had been on ADT for (acute), whereas 52 had been on ADT for >3 months (chronic). Results: Of these men, 85% were able to meet the criteria for the attainment of V·O2max, whereas three positive tests (3.2%) were observed. The three participants who recorded a positive stress test underwent further medical examination and were subsequently cleared of clinically significant cardiovascular disease. Apart from the relatively low V·O2max (24.7 ± 6.0 mL·kg-1·min-1, 10th-15th percentile), compared with normative data in healthy age-matched controls, the cardiovascular response to exercise was similar in this cancer population. Moreover, treatment duration did not seem to influence cardiovascular responses to exercise. This early evidence suggests that risk of adverse events during maximal exercise testing is relatively low in this population and certainly no higher than that in ages-matched, apparently healthy individuals. Conclusions: Maximal exercise testing was demonstrated to be feasible and safe, providing a direct assessment of V·O2max. The relatively low number of positive tests in this study suggests that the risk of adverse events is relatively low in this population and certainly no higher than that in age-matched, apparently healthy individuals.