Safety and feasibility of aerobic training on cardiopulmonary function and quality of life in postsurgical nonsmall cell lung cancer patients: A pilot study

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A feasibility study examining the effects of supervised aerobic exercise training on cardiopulmonary and quality of life (QOL) endpoints among postsurgical nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients was conducted.


Using a single-group design, 20 patients with stage I-IIIB NSCLC performed 3 aerobic cycle ergometry sessions per week at 60% to 100% of peak workload for 14 weeks. Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) was assessed using an incremental exercise test. QOL and fatigue were assessed using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Lung (FACT-L) scale.


Nineteen patients completed the study. Intention-to-treat analysis indicated that VO2peak increased 1.1 mL/kg−1/min−1 (95% confidence interval [CI], −0.3-2.5; P = .109) and peak workload increased 9 W (95% CI, 3-14; P = .003), whereas FACT-L increased 10 points (95% CI, −1-22; P = .071) and fatigue decreased 7 points (95% CI; −1 to −17; P = .029) from baseline to postintervention. Per protocol analyses indicated greater improvements in cardiopulmonary and QOL endpoints among patients not receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.


This pilot study provided proof of principle that supervised aerobic training is safe and feasible for postsurgical NSCLC patients. Aerobic exercise training is also associated with significant improvements in QOL and select cardiopulmonary endpoints, particularly among patients not receiving chemotherapy. Larger randomized trials are warranted. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.

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