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Multidisciplinary home-based rehabilitation in inoperable lung cancer: a randomised controlled trial


Background Lung cancer is associated with poor health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and high symptom burden. This trial aimed to assess the efficacy of home-based rehabilitation versus usual care in inoperable lung cancer.

Methods A parallel-group, assessor-blinded, allocation-concealed, randomised controlled trial. Eligible participants were allocated (1:1) to usual care (UC) plus 8 weeks of aerobic and resistance exercise with behaviour change strategies and symptom support (intervention group (IG)) or UC alone. Assessments occurred at baseline, 9 weeks and 6 months. The primary outcome, change in between-group 6 min walk distance (6MWD), was analysed using intention-to-treat (ITT). Subsequent analyses involved modified ITT (mITT) and included participants with at least one follow-up outcome measure. Secondary outcomes included HRQoL and symptoms.

Results Ninety-two participants were recruited. Characteristics of participants (UC=47, IG=45): mean (SD) age 64 (12) years; men 55%; disease stage n (%) III=35 (38) and IV=48 (52); radical treatment 46%. There were no significant between-group differences for the 6MWD (n=92) at 9 weeks (p=0.308) or 6 months (p=0.979). The mITT analyses of 6MWD between-group differences were again non-significant (mean difference (95% CI): 9 weeks: −25.4 m (−64.0 to 13.3), p=0.198 and 6 months: 41.3 m (−26.7 to 109.4), p=0.232). Significant 6-month differences, favouring the IG, were found for HRQoL (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Lung: 13.0 (3.9 to 22.1), p=0.005) and symptom severity (MD Anderson Symptom Inventory–Lung Cancer: −2.2 (−3.6 to –0.9), p=0.001).

Conclusions Home-based rehabilitation did not improve functional exercise capacity but there were improvements in patient-reported exploratory secondary outcomes measures observed at 6 months.

Trial registration Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12614001268639).

  • non-small cell lung cancer
  • exercise

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