Systematic review of exercise and nutrition interventions for patients with incurable cancer

5th November 2019

Researchers based at the Cicely Saunders Institute, St Columba’s Hospice and Royal Infirmary Edinburgh have carried out a systematic review to examine the current evidence for rehabilitation combining exercise and nutritional support for patients with incurable cancer. The researchers reviewed 67 abstracts and 24 full texts. 8 studies were included: 2 randomised control trials, 3 prospective studies, 1 exploratory study and 2 secondary analyses.

The analysis showed moderate evidence for improvements in depression and physical endurance. There was low quality evidence for quality of life and fatigue, and very low quality evidence for overall function and nutritional status. The researchers concluded that there are limited data for rehabilitation programmes combining exercise and nutritional interventions in patients with incurable cancer. High quality studies are needed to define the optimal approach and outcome measures.

Hall CC, Cook J, Maddocks M, Skipworth RJE, Fallon M, Laird BJ. Combined exercise and nutritional rehabilitation in outpatients with incurable cancer: a systematic review. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2019 Apr 3. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-019-04749-6