Novel Methods for Reporting of Exercise Dose and Adherence: An Exploratory Analysis

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The purpose of this study was to explore whether methods adapted from oncology pharmacological trials have utility in reporting adherence (tolerability) of exercise treatment in cancer.


Using a retrospective analysis of a randomized trial, 25 prostate cancer patients received an aerobic training regimen of 72 supervised treadmill walking sessions delivered thrice weekly between 55% and 100% of exercise capacity for 24 consecutive weeks. Treatment adherence (tolerability) was assessed using conventional (lost to follow-up and attendance) and exploratory (e.g., permanent discontinuation, dose modification, and relative dose intensity) outcomes.


The mean total cumulative “planned” and “completed” dose was 200.7 ± 47.6 and 153.8 ± 68.8 MET·h, respectively, equating to a mean relative dose intensity of 77% ± 24%. Two patients (8%) were lost to follow-up, and mean attendance was 79%. A total of 6 (24%) of 25 patients permanently discontinued aerobic training before week 24. Aerobic training was interrupted (missing ≥3 consecutive sessions) or dose reduced in a total of 11 (44%) and 24 (96%) patients, respectively; a total 185 (10%) of 1800 training sessions required dose reduction owing to both health-related (all nonserious) and non–health-related adverse events. Eighteen (72%) patients required at least one session to be terminated early; a total of 59 (3%) sessions required early termination.


Novel methods for the conduct and reporting of exercise treatment adherence and tolerability may provide important information beyond conventional metrics in patients with cancer.

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