Combined aerobic exercise and high-intensity respiratory muscle training in patients surgically treated for non-small cell lung cancer: a pilot randomized clinical trial.


Rehabilitation Research Group, Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain - [Email]


BACKGROUND : Lung resection surgery further decreases exercise capacity and negatively affects respiratory muscle function in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The best design for exercise interventions in these patients has not been determined yet.
OBJECTIVE : To assess the impact of aerobic exercise and high-intensity respiratory muscle training on patient outcomes following lung cancer resection surgery.
METHODS : Prospective, single-blind, pilot randomized controlled trial.
METHODS : Outpatient cardiopulmonary rehabilitation unit of two university hospitals.
METHODS : Thirty-seven patients with NSCLC after tumor resection.
METHODS : Patients were randomly assigned to exercise training or usual post-operative care. The training program consisted of aerobic exercises and high-intensity respiratory muscle training (24 supervised sessions, 3 per week, 8 weeks). Primary outcome was exercise capacity assessed with peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) during cardiopulmonary exercise test. Secondary outcomes included changes in respiratory muscle strength, levels of serum insulin growth factor I (IGF-I) and IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3), and quality of life assessed with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC QLQ-C30) questionnaire.
RESULTS : The 8-week training program was associated with significant improvement in VO2peak (2.13 mL/Kg/min [95%CI 0.06 to 4.20]), maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures (18.96 cmH2O [95% CI 2.7 to 24.1] and 18.58 cmH2O [95% CI 4.0 to 33.1], respectively) and IGFBP-3 (0.61 µg/mL [%95 CI 0.1 to 1.12]). No significant differences were observed in the EORTC QLQ-C30.
CONCLUSIONS : An 8-week exercise program consisting of aerobic exercise and high-intensity respiratory muscle training improved exercise capacity, respiratory muscle strength, and serum IGFBP-3 levels in NSCLC patients after lung resection. There was no impact on the other outcomes assessed.
CONCLUSIONS : A combination of aerobic exercise and respiratory muscle training could be included in the rehabilitation program of deconditioned patients with NSCLC after lung resection surgery.