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Cancer Treat Rev. 2009 Apr;35(2):185-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2008.09.008. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

Physical exercise interventions in haematological cancer patients, feasible to conduct but effectiveness to be established: a systematic literature review.

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  • 1EMGO Institute, Department of Public and Occupational Health, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. liurob@hotmail.com



To summarize and define the methodological quality of primary research findings obtained in exercise interventions, aimed at improving physical function or psychological well-being in patients treated for haematological malignancies.


Relevant trials were identified through a computerized Mesh-search in MEDLINE and PubMed up to September 2007. Two reviewers independently screened the trials for eligibility, rated their quality, and extracted data.


Ten studies published between 1996 and 2007 were included in this review. Two were performed in children and eight in adults. Only three studies were randomised controlled trials, one a controlled trial and the remaining six were single-group studies. Four trials were performed during treatment for cancer. The remainder was performed post-treatment. A wide variety of exercise protocols were applied, differing in exercise type, frequency, duration and intensity. Even though the trials were of poor methodological quality, encouraging results were obtained for a diverse set of outcomes, such as physical fitness, health-related quality of life and psychological well-being.


Although none of the trials presented in this review are of high methodological quality, the findings suggest that it is feasible to conduct exercise interventions in this particular population of cancer patients. Future interventions should include larger study populations, use appropriate control groups, and a standard collection of valid outcome measures to improve comparability between studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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