Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing colon cancer, however, its influence on patients with established disease is unknown.
Dr Jeffrey Meyerhardt and colleagues from Los Angeles conducted a prospective observational study of 832 patients with stage III colon cancer.
The patients were enrolled in a randomized adjuvant chemotherapy trial.
The research team observed patients on various recreational physical activities approximately 6 months after completion of therapy for recurrence or death.
To minimize bias by occult recurrence, the team excluded patients who experienced recurrence or died within 90 days of their physical activity assessment.
The patients engaged in less than 3 metabolic equivalent task-hours per week of physical activity.
The researchers found that the adjusted hazard ratio for disease-free survival was 0.5 for 18 to under 27 metabolic equivalent task-hours per week.
The hazard ratio for disease-free survival was 0.6 for 27 or more metabolic equivalent task-hours per week.
|The benefit associated with physical activity was not modified by body mass index|
|Journal of Clinical Oncology|
Postdiagnosis activity was associated with similar improvements in recurrence-free survival, and overall survival.
The team noted that the benefit associated with physical activity was not significantly modified by sex, or body mass index.
The researchers observed that number of positive lymph nodes, age, baseline performance status, or chemotherapy received also did not modify the benefits of physical activity.
Moreover, the benefit remained unchanged even after excluding participants who developed cancer recurrence or died within 6 months of activity assessment.
Dr Meyerhardt's team concludes, “Beyond surgical resection and postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer, for patients who survive and are recurrence free approximately 6 months after adjuvant chemotherapy, physical activity appears to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and mortality. “