Exercise tolerance and physical activity short after intensive treatment in patients with childhood cancer

Miek Hornikx, Anne Uyttebroeck, Deveny Vanrusselt, Charlotte Sleurs, Marc Gewillig, Sabine Verschueren

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractScientificpeer-review


Background and Aims:
Patients with childhood cancer are confronted with exercise intolerance (EI (VO2peak<85% predicted)) after treatment, with a detrimental effect on quality of life and mortality. Knowledge on the limiting factor(s) for this EI and its relation with physical activity (PA) is essential in order to prescribe individually tailored rehabilitation and to stimulate physical and social reintegration.

Forty-one patients with childhood cancer (13±3 years; 71% boys; BMI: 20±4 kg/m2), diagnosed with leukemia/lymphoma (61%), solid tumor (32%) or brain tumor (7%) and recently finalized (duration cancer treatment: 216 [168-270] days) their oncology-related treatment were included in the study. Patients performed a maximal symptom-limited cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) on a treadmill (4.8 km/h; +2% elevation/min). PA was recorded with a 3-axial accelerometer (Dynaport MoveMonitor, McRoberts, The Hague), that patients wore for 7 consecutive days. Active time (standing and walking), sedentary time and steps were withheld.

The duration of CPET amounted 7 [6-9] minutes, reaching an inclination of 12 [10-16] %. Exercise tolerance (VO2peak: 29.7±7.8 ml/min/kg (67±16% predicted)) was markedly reduced in patients with childhood cancer compared to healthy peers. Eighty-eight percent of patients were defined as exercise intolerant. The majority of patients were peripherally limited (83%). A cardiac limitation was present in 71% of patients and was predominantly due to a reduced oxygen pulse (97%). Hyperventilation (32%) and a ventilatory limitation (12%) were less prevalent. PA data of 13 patients were available (Active time: 178±67 minutes/day; sedentary time: 515±113 minutes/day; steps: 6411 [4458-6838]).

Exercise tolerance is markedly reduced in patients with childhood cancer short after intensive treatment and mainly caused by deconditioning of peripheral muscles and reduced oxygen pulse. Further research is necessary to study the link with physical activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S503-S503
JournalPediatric Blood & Cancer
Issue numberS5
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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