Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 9, pp 2809–2814 | Cite as

Compliance and safety of a novel home exercise program for patients with high-grade brain tumors, a prospective observational study

  • Jennifer Baima
  • Zehra B. Omer
  • John Varlotto
  • Shakeeb Yunus
Original Article



The purpose of this study is to evaluate compliance with and safety of a novel independent home exercise program for patients with high-grade brain tumors. We designed this program around the preferences and individual capabilities of this population as well as the potential barriers to exercise in cancer patients. Demographics were collected to better understand those that persisted with exercise.


Subjects with high-grade brain tumor received one-time training that included watching an exercise video and live demonstration of resistance band exercises, a balance exercise, and recommendations for walking. Subjects were instructed to do the exercises every day for 1 month. Main outcome measures were percentage of subjects who exercised throughout the month, frequency of exercising, demographic factors, quality of life scores (assessed by FACT-BR), and self report of adverse events.


Fourteen of the 15 (93%) subjects started the exercises during the course of the month. Nine of the fifteen (60%) continued the exercises throughout the month. Three additional subjects would have continued to exercise if formal or supervised rehabilitation had been offered. Among the subjects who continued the exercises regularly, higher frequency of exercising was significantly associated with living as married (p = 0.033), annual income >$50,000 (p = 0.047), scores of physical well-being (p = 0.047), and brain cancer specific well-being (p = 0.054) subscales. Among those who exercised frequently, there was also a trend towards increase in total FACT-BR scores (p = 0.059). The subjects who scored higher on the social well-being subscale of the FACT-BR at baseline self-reported a higher likelihood to continue the exercises after 1 month of participation in the study (p = 0.018). No adverse events were reported.


Our small group of subjects with high-grade brain tumors demonstrated compliance with and safety of a novel independent strength and balance exercise program in the home setting. Higher frequency of exercising was associated with life quality parameters as well as marriage and income.


Brain neoplasms Rehabilitation Exercise Muscle weakness 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 13 kb)
520_2017_3695_MOESM2_ESM.docx (256 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 255 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopedics and Physical RehabilitationUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS)WorcesterUSA
  2. 2.UMass Memorial Medical CenterWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS)WorcesterUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and OncologyUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS)WorcesterUSA

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