Motor performance in children and adolescents with cancer at the end of acute treatment phase
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Reduced motor performance may particularly limit reintegration into normal life after cessation of treatment in pediatric cancer patients. This study aimed at analyzing motor performance at the end of the acute treatment phase and reveals potential risk factors for motor deficits. A childhood cancer population with different tumor entities was assessed with the MOON test, which allows for comparison with age- and gender-matched reference values of healthy children, at the end of the acute treatment phase. Forty-seven patients were tested at 7.0 ± 2.6 months after diagnosis. Significant reductions of motor performance affected muscular explosive strength (P < 0.001), handgrip strength (P < 0.001), muscular endurance of legs (P = 0.035), hand-eye coordination (P < 0.001), static balance (P = 0.003), speed (P = 0.012), and flexibility (P < 0.001). Loss of upper extremity coordination did not achieve statistical significance. Associations between single motor deficits and the tumor entity, age, body mass index, and inactivity during treatment were revealed, whereas no associations were found for gender and vincristine application.
Conclusion: Overall, motor performance was low in the patient group studied. We recommend that individualized exercise interventions to attenuate motor deficits and promote physical activity are needed during cancer treatment in order to enhance motor performance and improve social participation during and after cancer therapy.
KeywordsMotor performance Pediatric cancer patients Physical activity Exercise Acute treatment
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Acute myeloid leukemia
Body mass index
Test for motor performance in pediatric oncology
This study was funded by the Cora-Lobscheid Foundation. The authors would like to thank all the children and adolescents who participated in this study and Gabriele Braun-Munzinger for her writing assistance.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The study was approved by the local ethics committee and is therefore in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All patients and legal guardians gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion to the study.
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