There is increasing observational and anecdotal evidence that physical activity (PA) may prevent cancer recurrence, cancer deaths, and death from all causes. There is also evidence that physical activity can improve physical function and quality of life, and decrease short and long term side effects from cancer and cancer treatment. The COSA position statement recommends exercise be embedded as standard practice in cancer care and survivors should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and 2-3 sessions of resistance exercise every week. Despite the benefits, and similar recommendations from numerous cancer bodies, <30% of survivors meet the recommended guidelines.
CHALLENGE is a pragmatic, multi-centre, phase III RCT evaluating the impact of PA on disease-free survival (DFS) in cancer patients. The population is resected stage II/III colon cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. Participants are randomised to a 3-year structured exercise program including behavioural counselling and general health education materials (SEP) or general health education materials alone (HEM).
To date 648 of 962 survivors have been randomised (67% of planned sample size) including 232 Australian participants. A planned interim analysis of 273 patients with 1-year follow up showed the intervention to be administered effectively and the trial meeting the target for PA compliance, adherence and behaviour change,and achieving improvement in biometric measures. A group differenceof 10.5 Metabolic Equivalent Task (MET) hours/week, (i.e. equivalent to difference of ~3.5 hours/week of moderate intensity PA) was achieved.
The presentation will give an overview of the evidence for PA in colorectal cancer survivors, and the challenges in conducting PA trials and exercise programs in cancer populations. An update on CHALLENGE will be presented as well as data from the interim analysis.