Resistance training in advanced cancer

26th August 2020

Resistance training is an effective way to increase muscle mass, but little is known about its role in preventing the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength in people with advanced cancer. 

Home is frequently the place of care and death preferred by cancer patients and researchers decided to investigate whether home would be a better training setting than hospital. The team decided to test if resistance training at home and in hospital is feasible and safe for patients with advanced cancer.  Research participants were randomised into one of 3 groups: i) supervised at home, ii) supervised in hospital and iii) standard care with information leaflet. 

The training programmes were similar, ran for 12 weeks for 3 sessions per week.  The researchers found that patients doing the training at home stuck to the programme more than people training in hospital.  The researchers concluded that resistance training is a safe intervention, and is more feasible at home than in hospital for patients with advanced cancer.  There could be ways to increase adherence to the home intervention, and this could further improve its potential benefit. 

Ribeiro C, Santos R, Correia P, Maddocks M, Gomes B. Resistance training in advanced cancer: a phase II safety and feasibility trial—home versus hospital BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care Published Online First: 13 August 2020. doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002230