Resistance training reduces disability in prostate cancer survivors on androgen deprivation therapy: evidence from a randomized controlled trial. By Winters-Stone et al 2015
Key sentence from the paper: “As evidence of the benefits of exercise mounts, it is increasingly clear that an exercise prescription needs to be a routine component of cancer care and that the design and implementation of exercise programs matter.”
For the full abstract, see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25194450
Commentary: Yes, exercise matters and, in particular, resistance training (i.e., weight lifting) can increase muscle strength, improve self-reported functionality, and reduce disability in prostate cancer patients on ADT. This is an impressive study in that the training program (i.e., with supervised classes) ran for a whole year with both patient retention and attendance remaining at 84% for the year. Few other exercise studies for cancer patients have run that long and had such good evidence of participant commitment and appreciation.
Repeatedly in this blog we have reported on the need for exercise to help prostate cancer patients limit their risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Exercise programs for cardiac patients typically focus on aerobic exercise, but is that adequate for patients on ADT? Because ADT leads to both muscle loss and weaker bones, one might suspect that some resistance training would also be important. This nicely designed randomized control confirms that patients on ADT truly benefit from being in a supervised exercise program the focus is on resistance training.
One of the nice parts of this study was that the control group was not simply other patients left in what is called "usual care", which means no intervention at all. Instead the controls had a structured exercise “placebo” program that involving specific stretches plus relaxation aimed at minimizing wait–bearing forces. The authors don't go as far as to say that stretching programs, such as gentle yoga exercises, may be of no benefit to prostate cancer patients on ADT. But their data affirm the benefit of a well-structured and supervised weightlifting program.
Winters-Stone KM, Dobek JC, Bennett JA, Dieckmann NF, Maddalozzo GF, Ryan CW, et al. Resistance training reduces disability in prostate cancer survivors on androgen deprivation therapy: evidence from a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015;96(1):7-14.