Background: The optimal form of exercise for individuals with cancer has yet to be identified, but there is evidence that exercise improves their quality of life. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy and efficiency of an innovative physical exercise programme, for individuals undergoing chemotherapy for breast, gastrointestinal or non-small cell lung tumours, for improving quality of life, reducing level of fatigue, and enhancing functional capacity over time.
Design/Methods: We will conduct a clinical trial in 66 patients with stage IV breast, gastrointestinal or non-small cell lung cancer, recruited by the Department of Oncology of the referral hospital from 4 primary care health centres of the Basque Health Service (Osakidetza). These patients will be randomised to one of two groups. The treatment common to both groups will be the usual care for cancer: optimized usual drug therapies and strengthening of self-care; in addition, patients in the intervention group will participate in a 2-month exercise programme, including both aerobic and strength exercises, supervised by nurses in their health centre. The principal outcome variable is health-related quality of life, measured blindly with the 30-item European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire and Short Form-36 four times: at baseline, and 2, 6 and 12 months later. The secondary outcome variables are fatigue (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue questionnaire), functional capacity (6-Minute Walk Test and cardiorespiratory test), muscle strength (hand-held dynamometry and sit-to-stand test), radiological response to treatment (Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors) and progression-free and overall survival. Age, sex, diagnosis, chemotherapy regimen, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status and smoking status will be considered as predictive variables. Data will be analysed on an intention-to-treat basis, comparing changes at each time point between groups, adjusting for baseline values by analysis of covariance.
Discussion: As well as achieving the objectives set, this study will provide us with information on patient perception of the care received and an opportunity to develop a project based on collaborative action between the primary care and oncology professionals.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01786122 Registration date: 02/05/2013.
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