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Exercise preferences and associations between fitness parameters, physical activity, and quality of life in high-grade glioma patients



Exercise has numerous benefits for cancer survivors, but very limited research to date has exclusively examined brain cancer patients, specifically those diagnosed with high-grade glioma (HGG). This study examined (1) the feasibility of recruiting HGG patients to an exercise-based study and performing fitness assessments; (2) exercise counseling and programming preferences; and (3) associations between fitness, physical activity (PA), and quality of life (QOL).


Participants completed assessments prior to starting Temozolamide chemotherapy with radiation (T1), at 2 months and 8 months. Fitness was measured with an incremental cycling exercise test to volitional exhaustion (VO2peak) and hand grip dynamometry. The Godin leisure time questionnaire measured PA and the functional assessment for cancer therapy, brain cancer module (FACT-Br) measured QOL.


Of the 35 approached, N = 16 participated. Due to safety concerns, the aerobic fitness test protocol was altered. Participants preferred to exercise during treatment, alone and unsupervised, at home, and at a moderate intensity. Few participants (<25%) met guidelines for PA at any time point. At T1, aerobic capacity was associated with the FACT Trial Outcome Index (TOI) (r = 0.619, p < 0.05). At 2 months, PA minutes were associated with FACT-TOI (r = 0.653, p = 0.057), FACT-G (r = 0.711, p < 0.05), and FACT-Br scores (r = 0.722, p < 0.05).


Recruitment rate was similar to a previous study in HGG populations, but study completion rate was lower. Most exercise counseling and programming preferences were similar to previous brain cancer patients. Assessing aerobic fitness to VO2peak was not feasible. Aerobic fitness and PA were positively associated with QOL.

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Correspondence to S. Nicole Culos-Reed.

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Nicole Culos-Reed, S., Leach, H.J., Capozzi, L.C. et al. Exercise preferences and associations between fitness parameters, physical activity, and quality of life in high-grade glioma patients. Support Care Cancer 25, 1237–1246 (2017).

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  • Exercise
  • Glioma
  • Quality of life
  • Surveys and questionnaires