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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2015 Apr;94(1):74-86. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2014.12.012. Epub 2015 Jan 3.

Role of physical activity and sport in oncology: scientific commission of the National Federation Sport and Cancer CAMI.

Author information

  • 1Department of Radiotherapy and Medical Oncology, APHP, Avicenne Hospital, Bobigny, France. Electronic address:
  • 2French Anti-doping Agency, Paris, France.
  • 3Department of Medical Oncology, Jean Godinot Institute, Reims, France.
  • 4Department of Radiotherapy and Medical Oncology, APHP, Avicenne Hospital, Bobigny, France.
  • 5Department of Supportive Care, Curie Institute, Paris, France.
  • 6Department of Supportive Care, Gustave Roussy, F-94805 Villejuif, France.
  • 7Department of Medical Oncology, François Baclesse Institute, Caen, France.
  • 8French National Federation Sport and Cancer CAMI, France.
  • 9Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Henri Duffaut Hospital, Avignon, France.
  • 10Radiotherapy Unit, Jacques Puel Hospital, Rodez, France.
  • 11Department of Medical Oncology, APHP, Georges Pompidou European Hospital, Paris, France.
  • 12Department of Medical Oncology, APHP, Pitie Salpetriere Hospital, Paris, France.
  • 13Department of Breast Cancer, Oscar Lambret Institute, Lille, France.


This overview reports published data about the interaction between physical activity and sport during and after cancer on one hand and improvement in psychological parameters, survival and biological mechanisms underlying this effect on the other hand. Practising physical activity and sport during cancer modifies parameters assessing fatigue and quality of life and reduces symptoms of depression. An association also exists between the practise of physical activity and sport and overall and cancer-specific survivals, especially after breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer. These benefits seem to be mediated by a modification of circulating levels of estrogens, insulin, IGF-1 and by a decrease in insulin-resistance, by alterations in the secretion of adipokines, and by a reduction in chronic inflammation through decreased levels of cytokines. There exist some obstacles to the practise of physical activity. These obstacles are mainly related to a fear of pain induced by physical activity and to overweight. These programmes of physical activity and sport cannot be offered to all patients since there are several contra-indications, with some being present since the initial visit and others appearing during cancer management either due to disease progression or related to iatrogenic effects. Whereas benefits from physical activity and sport among cancer patients seem obvious, there are still several pending clinical and biological issues.


Cancer; Contra-indications; Fatigue; Limitations; Physical activity; Quality of life; Side effect; Survival

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