A new Phase 2 clinical trial in Australia will assess whether exercise can improve the quality of life and physical function of women with recurring ovarian cancer who are on chemotherapy.
Researchers at Griffith University recently were awarded a AU$884,172 grant (about $581,000) from the Medical Research Future Fund for this project. They will collaborate with teams at University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Mater Hospital Brisbane, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation, and the Council of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.
Recurring ovarian cancer refers to ovarian cancer that comes back after an initial treatment. In general, “women with recurrent ovarian cancer report high treatment-related side effects and unmet supportive care needs,” Sandi Hayes, the study’s lead researcher and a professor at Menzies Health Institute Queensland, said in a press release. Current treatment of these patients is focused on maximizing duration and quality of life.
According to Hayes, exercise therapy is recommended as part of the best-practice care offered to people with all kinds of cancer. However, most of the evidence supporting exercise in cancer patients comes from patients with early-stage disease and good prognosis.
“There is an urgent need to determine if exercise is also appropriate and beneficial in cancer cohorts [groups] with low-survival and higher cancer- and treatment-related morbidity, such as is the case for women with recurrent ovarian cancer,” Hayes said.
The trial will test the feasibility and safety of a six-month exercise program while the women are receiving chemotherapy, as well as potential benefits on physical well-being, quality of life, physical function, body composition, and chemotherapy-related side effects.
The study is open to all individuals with recurrent ovarian cancer, including those with less common subtypes. Participants will undergo an exercise program that will follow recently published Australian guidelines for how exercise should be prescribed to cancer patients.
These guidelines recommend an exercise regime that is tailored to the individual, and includes aerobic and resistance exercises at moderate or higher intensity.
“This trial will determine the effects of an exercise program for recurrent ovarian cancer on health outcomes that matter to patients, their treating clinicians and will influence health resource use,” Hayes said.
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