Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 2447–2460 | Cite as

The role of physical rehabilitation in stem cell transplantation patients

  • Amir SteinbergEmail author
  • Arash Asher
  • Charlotte Bailey
  • Jack B. Fu
Review Article


The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence for the role of physical rehabilitation in stem cell transplantation patients. We will also review the literature and discuss professional experiences on how rehabilitation can play a role in stem cell transplant care and survivorship. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) is a procedure that has evolved substantially over the years to help treat multiple conditions, particularly hematologic malignancies. HCT can be very stressful on the body and can leave patients weakened and sometimes quite debilitated. Supportive care measures have advanced to improve the quality of life and overall survival of HCT survivors. One key component of improved supportive care is gaining increased attention, and that is physical medicine and rehabilitation. Its role in HCT survivorship care is expanding, and new insight and research within the discipline have focused on fatigue, inflammation, exercise, and the development of structured rehabilitation programs to improve the musculoskeletal sequelae of transplantation. This literature review has demonstrated the utility of physical rehabilitation in HCT, its impact on cancer-related fatigue, and to outline the current state of the literature on these topics. The paper delves into a background of HCT. Cancer-related fatigue in HCT is then discussed and summarized, and the role that exercise plays in modifying such fatigue is outlined. We then outline the models and the impact that physical rehabilitation may play in HCT recipients.


Stem cell transplantation Cancer fatigue Exercise Rehabilitation program 



There was no financial support for this manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.


The topic of this paper was presented as a review session at the 2012 American Academy of Physical Medical & Rehabilitation Annual Assembly.

This manuscript is supported in part by two grants:

1. MD Anderson NIH Institutional Support grant: CA 016672


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amir Steinberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arash Asher
    • 2
  • Charlotte Bailey
    • 2
  • Jack B. Fu
    • 3
  1. 1.Blood and Marrow TransplantationMount Sinai HospitalNew York CityUSA
  2. 2.Cancer Survivorship and Rehabilitation, Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer InstituteCedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Palliative Care & Rehabilitation MedicineUniversity of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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