Progressive resistance training in head and neck cancer patients undergoing concomitant chemoradiotherapy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Camilla K Lonkvist, Anders Vinther, Bo Zerahn, Eva Rosenbom, Atul S Deshmukh, Pernille Hojman, Julie Gehl

Objectives: Patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma undergoing concomitant chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) frequently experience weight loss, especially loss of lean body mass (LBM), and reduced functional performance. This study investigated whether a 12-week hospital-based progressive resistance training (PRT) program during CCRT is feasible in the clinical setting before planning initiation of a larger randomized study which is the long-term goal.

Study design: Prospective pilot study.

Methods: Twelve patients receiving CCRT were planned to attend a 12-week PRT program. Primary endpoint was feasibility measured as attendance to training sessions. Secondary endpoints included changes in functional performance, muscle strength, and body composition measured by Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scans. Furthermore, sarcomeric protein content, pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) activity, and glycolysis were determined in muscle biopsies.

Results: Twelve patients with p16 positive oropharyngeal cancer were enrolled. The primary endpoint was met with 9 of the 12 patients completing at least 25 of 36 planned training sessions. The mean attendance rate was 77%. Functional performance was maintained during the treatment period and increased during follow-up (p < 0.01). Strength was regained after an initial dip during treatment, paralleling responses in LBM and sarcomeric protein content. LBM began to increase immediately after treatment. The PPP was upregulated after the treatment period, whilst glycolysis remained unchanged. No adverse events were related to PRT and in questionnaires, patients emphasized the social and psychological benefits of attendance.

Conclusion: Progressive resistance training is feasible and safe during CCRT for head and neck cancer, and is associated with high patient satisfaction.

Level of Evidence: 2C.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLaryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology
Volume2
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)295-306
Number of pages12
ISSN2378-8038
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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