Safety and efficacy of progressive resistance training in breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis
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The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of progressive resistance training (PRT) in breast cancer. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published to November 2013 that reported on the effects of PRT (>6 weeks) on breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) (incidence/exacerbation, arm volume, and symptom severity), physical functioning (upper and lower body muscular strength), and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in breast cancer patients were included. Of 446 citations retrieved, 15 RCTs in 1,652 patients were included and yielded five studies on BCRL incidence/exacerbation (N = 647), four studies on arm volume (N = 384) and BCRL symptom severity (N = 479), 11 studies on upper body muscular strength (N = 1,252), nine studies on lower body muscular strength (N = 1,079), and seven studies on HRQoL (N = 823). PRT reduced the risk of BCRL versus control conditions [OR = 0.53 (95 % CI 0.31–0.90); I 2 = 0 %] and did not worsen arm volume or symptom severity (both SMD = −0.07). PRT significantly improved upper [SMD = 0.57 (95 % CI 0.37–0.76); I 2 = 58.4 %] and lower body muscular strength [SMD = 0.48 (95 % CI 0.30–0.67); I 2 = 46.7 %] but not HRQoL [SMD = 0.17 (95 % CI −0.03 to 0.38); I 2 = 47.0 %]. The effect of PRT on HRQoL became significant in our sensitivity analysis when two studies conducted during adjuvant chemotherapy [SMD = 0.30 (95 % CI 0.04–0.55), I 2 = 37.0 %] were excluded. These data indicate that PRT improves physical functioning and reduces the risk of BCRL. Clinical practice guidelines should be updated to inform clinicians on the benefits of PRT in this cohort.
KeywordsStrength Physical functioning Quality of life Rehabilitation Exercise Health Lymphedema Survival Fitness
We sincerely thank Ms Katrina Chaudhary for her work in developing the database searches.
All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at http://www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: no support from any organization for the submitted work.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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