Functional benefits are sustained after a program of supervised resistance exercise in cancer patients with bone metastases: longitudinal results of a pilot study
Introduction: Exercise may represent an effective adjunct therapy to current medical management strategies for maintaining functional independence and improving quality of life in cancer patients with bone metastatic disease. However, it has yet to be determined if there are any sustained effects following the completion of an exercise program by patients with bone metastases. Purpose The aim of this study is to determine whether a 3-month supervised resistance exercise program results in any sustained functional benefits in prostate and breast cancer patients with bone metastatic disease. Methods Twenty men and women with bone metastatic disease secondary to prostate or breast cancer completed a 3-month supervised resistance exercise program followed by a 6-month observation period. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, post-exercise, and 6-month follow-up. Results Fourteen participants completed the follow-up observation period. Significant improvements in physical function (4-6 %), physical activity levels (~160 min/week), lean mass (3-4 %), and quality of life (5-7 %) were observed at the completion of the exercise program. At the 6-month follow-up, significant improvements in ambulation (4 %), physical activity level (~105 min/week), whole body lean mass (2 %), and quality of life (13 %) remained. Conclusions An appropriately designed and supervised 3-month resistance exercise program may lead to significant improvements in functional ability, physical activity level, lean mass, and quality of life that remain 6 months after completion of the program in cancer patients with bone metastases. Future trials involving larger sample sizes are required to expand these preliminary findings.