Conference Coverage

Exercise during adjuvant breast cancer therapy improves CV outcomes



– A tailored 12-month exercise program during adjuvant breast cancer treatment appears to protect cardiovascular function, particularly in patients receiving chemotherapy, according to findings from the randomized EBBA-II trial.

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The overall change in VO2max at 12 months was +0.3% in 271 patients randomized to the intervention group, compared with –8.9% in 274 patients in the “usual care” control group, Inger Thune, MD, PhD, said at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Among patients receiving chemotherapy, the VO2max change at 12 months was +1.6% in 120 patients in the intervention group, compared with –2.76% in 122 patients in the control group, said Dr. Thune of the Cancer Center at Oslo University Hospital.

Study participants were women aged 18-75 years (mean of 55 years at diagnosis) with stage I-II breast cancer, mean body mass index of 25 kg/m2, and a mean VO2max before surgery of 31.5 mL/kg per minute. The intervention group entered a 12-month individualized exercise program 2-3 weeks after surgery based on their own VO2max at baseline.

They met for training sessions in groups of 10-12 women for 60 minutes twice weekly over the 12-month study period, and were also told to perform at least 120 minutes of exercise at home for a total of 240 minutes of exercise weekly.

Of note, the adherence rate among participants was encouragingly high at about 90%, she said, adding that the findings strongly support tailored exercise during adjuvant breast cancer treatment, as such an intervention appears to counteract declines in cardiovascular function – particularly in those receiving chemotherapy.

In this video interview, Dr. Thune further discussed the study design, implications of the findings, and future directions.

“Cardiovascular morbidity is so important for our breast cancer patients that I think that it’s time to have physical activity [and] physical function as a main interest for all clinicians dealing with breast cancer patients,” she said.

Dr. Thune reported having no disclosures.

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