This recent systematic review evaluates the effects of exercise on body composition, quality of life and survival in women after treatment of early-stage breast cancer (stage I to III). Randomised controlled trials evaluating exercise programs after the end of adjuvant treatment were included. Exercise programs could be counselling or structured, supervised or individualised. The primary outcomes were overall survival and disease-free survival. Secondary outcomes were weight loss, body mass index, waist-hip ratio, body fat, and quality of life. The review identified 60 randomised controlled trials (6,303 participants), with structured or individualised exercise being the most common types of exercise evaluated. Only one trial had data for the primary outcomes and suggested that 8 months of exercise reduced overall mortality compared to usual care (hazard ratio 0.45, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.97), but had no effect on disease-free survival (hazard ratio 0.66, 95% CI 0.38 to 1.17). There was low-quality evidence that exercise reduced body mass index (mean difference 0.89kg, 95% CI 0.28 to 1.5) and percentage body fat (mean difference 1.6%, 95% CI 0.88 to 2.31). There was very low-quality evidence that exercise reduced weight (mean difference 1.36kg, 95% CI 0.21 to 2.51), general quality of life (standardised mean difference 0.45, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.69), physical aspects of quality of life (standardised mean difference 0.51, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.79), and mental aspects of quality of life (standardised mean difference 0.28, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.5). This review highlighted the need for more well-designed and large-scale randomised controlled trials to evaluate the effects of exercise on mortality outcomes.
Soares Falcetta F, et al. Effects of physical exercise after treatment of early breast cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2018;170(3):455-76