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Springerplus. 2013 Dec;2(1):68. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-2-68. Epub 2013 Feb 25.

Cardiorespiratory fitness in breast cancer survivors.

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  • 1Breast Cancer Survivorship Center, Mail stop 5015, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3903 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66103-9815 USA.

Abstract

Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) has been used to assess risk for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD), and low VO2max has recently been associated with increased mortality from breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to determine the proportion of breast cancer survivors with 2 or more risk factors for CVD exhibiting a low VO2max and to determine whether sub-maximal endpoints which could be applied more readily to intervention research would correlate with the maximal treadmill test. We performed a single VO2max test on a treadmill with 30 breast cancer survivors age 30-60 (mean age 50.5 ± 5.6 years) who had 2 or more cardiac risk factors for CVD not related to treatment and who had received systemic therapy and or left chest radiation. Submaximal VO2 endpoints were assessed during the VO2max treadmill test and on an Arc trainer. Resting left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was also assessed by echocardiogram (ECHO) or multi-gated acquisition scan (MUGA). A majority (23/30) of women had a VO2max below the 20th percentile based on their predicted normal values. The group mean resting LVEF was 60.5 ± 5.0%. Submaximal VO2 measures were strongly correlated with the maximal test including; 1) 85% age predicted maximum heart rate VO2 on treadmill, (r = .89; p < 0.001), 2) treadmill VO2 at anaerobic threshold (AT), (r = .83; p < 0.001), and 3) Arc VO2 at AT, (r = .80; p < 0.001). Breast cancer survivors with 2 or more CVD risk factors but normal LVEF had a low cardiorespiratory fitness level compared to normative values in the healthy population placing them at increased risk for breast cancer and cardiovascular mortality. Submaximal VO2 exercise testing endpoints showed a strong correlation with the VO2max test in breast cancer survivors and is a good candidate for testing interventions to improve cardiorespiratory fitness.

KEYWORDS:

Anaerobic threshold; Cardiorespiratory fitness; Cardiovascular disease; Chemotherapy; Exercise testing; Weight loss

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