Exercise—preferably supervised—represents a viable intervention for prevention and treatment of fatigue among patients with breast cancer, a group of Australian, European, and U.S. researchers said. They presented their findings during a poster session on Saturday, December 9, during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The group conducted a meta-analyses using individual patient data from 34 exercise randomized controlled trials, 22 of which included patients with breast cancer (n = 3,061). Within the Predicting OptimaL cAncer RehabIlitation and Supportive care (POLARIS) consortium, an interaction term was included in the model to assess potential moderators including demographic (age, marital status, education), clinical (body mass index, presence of distant metastasis), intervention-related (intervention timing, delivery mode and duration), and exercise-related (exercise type, frequency, intensity, duration) characteristics.

Exercise significantly reduced fatigue reported by women with breast cancer (β= –0.15, 95% CI = –0.21 to –0.09). The effect did not differ significantly between patients with different demographic and clinical characteristics (pinteraction > 0.05). Also, neither timing (during or post-treatment) and duration of the intervention nor exercise-related factors moderated the intervention effects on fatigue. Supervised exercise had significantly larger effects on fatigue than unsupervised exercise (βdifference= –0.17, 95% CI = –0.28 to –0.05). Compared to the control group, supervised exercise significantly improved fatigue (β = –0.21, 95% CI = –0.28 to –0.14) whereas unsupervised exercise did not (β = –0.04, 95% CI = –0.14 to 0.06).