The potential impact of exercise upon symptom burden in adolescents and young adults undergoing cancer treatment

Claire Munsie, Jay Ebert, David Joske, Jo Collins, Timothy Ackland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) experience vast symptom burden resulting from cancer treatment-related toxicities (TRTs). Evidence supports integrated exercise to mitigate several TRTs in other cohorts; however, evidence in AYAs is lacking. Conventional reporting of TRTs adopts a maximum grade approach failing to recognise the trajectory over time, of persistent, or lower grade toxicities. Alternatively, longitudinal analysis of toxicities over time (ToxT) may provide clinically meaningful summaries of this data. We evaluated the longitudinal impact of an exercise intervention on TRTs in AYAs undergoing cancer treatment. Methods: A prospective, randomised trial allocated participants to a 10-week exercise intervention (EG) or control group (CG) undergoing usual care. Detailed information on TRTs was collected throughout the intervention. All TRTs were graded per the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE v5.0). Results: Forty-three (43) participants (63% male, mean age 21.1 years) were enrolled. When categorised to reflect the maximal worst grade experienced (Grade 0, Grade 1–2 and ≥ Grade 3), the CG reported an increased incidence of severe fatigue (≥ Grade 3) compared with the EG (p = 0.05). No other differences between groups were evident (p > 0.05). ToxT analysis of the four most common toxicities (fatigue, pain, nausea and mood disturbances) demonstrated no difference in the mean grade of each over time (p > 0.05). Conclusion: A 10-week exercise intervention reduces the severity of fatigue in AYAs undergoing treatment. While the ToxT approach provided insight into the toxicity profile, adequately powered studies are needed to better understand these differences within a homogenous sample. Trial registration: (ACTRN12620000663954) 10th June 2020.

Original languageEnglish
Article number293
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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