Feasibility of a tailored home-based exercise intervention during neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients

Kathleen M. Sturgeon, Amanda M. Smith, Elizabeth H. Federici, Namratha Kodali, Renée Kessler, Edward Wyluda, Leah V. Cream, Bonnie Ky, Kathryn H. Schmitz

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7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility of a home-based moderate-to-vigorous intensity, phased (introduction, intermediate, maintenance), exercise prescription in breast cancer patients receiving cardiotoxic neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Methods: Nineteen breast cancer patients were randomized to intervention or control for the duration of chemotherapy (16–24 weeks). The intervention was one aerobic exercise session at 80–90% VO2max for 25 min/week and 65%-75% VO2max for ≥ 50 min/week. Adherence to the tailored home-based program was assessed by heart rate monitors. Acceptability, tolerability, feasibility, efficacy, change in VO2max, and patient reported outcomes, safety, and clinical events were assessed. Results: 25.7% of eligible women consented (acceptability). Adherence was 87.6%. Women were not able to maintain exercise intensity as chemotherapy progressed (23.7% of exercise minutes were completed at prescribed heart rate during maintenance). Efficacy of the intervention was demonstrated by maintenance of VO2max (−1.0 ± 13.2%) compared to (−27.5 ± 7.4%) the control group. Further, during and after therapy, patients in the intervention arm reported less fatigue (control-baseline: 14.4 ± 15.9; midpoint: 19.0 ± 11.4; follow-up: 29.4 ± 20.0; intervention-baseline: 29.2 ± 24.6; midpoint: 24.6 ± 14.4; follow-up: 23.6 ± 11.9), impairment in activities (control-baseline: 13.7 ± 16.0; midpoint: 32.8 ± 17.0; follow-up: 58.6 ± 27.9; intervention-baseline: 38.7 ± 31.8; midpoint: 47.1 ± 27.5; follow-up: 47.5 ± 31.0), and pain (control-baseline: 80.8 ± 17.1; midpoint: 73.9 ± 20.7; follow-up: 50.7 ± 25.7; intervention-baseline: 68.7 ± 28.4; midpoint: 61.4 ± 22.5; follow-up: 65.3 ± 22.4). There were no differences in adverse events, treatment delays, or pathological complete response. Conclusions: Neoadjuvant breast cancer patients maintained approximately one hour/week of moderate-intensity exercise over the course of their treatment. Further, this volume of exercise was sufficient to maintain fitness capacity and quality of life compared to the control group. Trial registry: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03280836, prospectively registered 9/13/2017, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03280836.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number31
JournalBMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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