Head and neck cancer patients undergoing concomitant chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) frequently experience loss of muscle mass and reduced functional performance. Positive effects of exercise training are reported for many cancer types but biological mechanisms need further elucidation. This randomized study investigates whether progressive resistance training (PRT) may attenuate loss of muscle mass and functional performance. Furthermore, biochemical markers and muscle biopsies will be investigated trying to link biological mechanisms to training effects.
At the Departments of Oncology at Herlev and Aarhus University Hospitals, patients with stage III/IV squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, scheduled for CCRT are randomized 1:1 to either a 12-week PRT program or control group, both with 1 year follow-up. Planned enrollment is 72 patients, and stratification variables are study site, sex, p16-status, and body mass index. Primary endpoint is difference in change in lean body mass (LBM) after 12 weeks of PRT, assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The hypothesis is that 12 weeks of PRT can attenuate the loss of LBM by at least 25%. Secondary endpoints include training adherence, changes in body composition, muscle strength, functional performance, weight, adverse events, dietary intake, self-reported physical activity, quality of life, labor market affiliation, blood biochemistry, plasma cytokine concentrations, NK-cell frequency in blood, sarcomeric protein content in muscles, as well as muscle fiber type and fiber size in muscle biopsies. Muscle biopsies are optional.
This randomized study investigates the impact of a 12-week progressive resistance training program on lean body mass and several other physiological endpoints, as well as impact on adverse events and quality of life. Furthermore, a translational approach is integrated with extensive biological sampling and exploration into cytokines and mechanisms involved. The current paper discusses decisions and methods behind exercise in head and neck cancer patients undergoing concomitant chemoradiotherapy.
Approved by the Regional Ethics Committee for the Capital Region of Denmark (protocol id: H-15003725) and registered retrospectively at ClinicalTrials.gov ( NCT02557529 ) September 11th 2015.