Tumor Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 5659–5667 | Cite as

Effects of aerobic exercise on cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: a meta-analysis

  • Ling-Yun Zou
  • Liu Yang
  • Xiao-Ling He
  • Ming Sun
  • Jin-Jiang XuEmail author
Research Article


Increasing scientific evidences suggest that aerobic exercise may improve cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer patients, but many existing studies have yielded inconclusive results. This meta-analysis aimed to derive a more precise estimation of the effects of aerobic exercise on cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. The PubMed, CISCOM, CINAHL, Web of Science, Google Scholar, EBSCO, Cochrane Library, and CBM databases were searched from inception through July 1, 2013 without language restrictions. Crude standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95 % confidence interval (CI) was calculated. Twelve comparative studies were assessed with a total of 1,014 breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, including 522 patients in the aerobic exercise group (intervention group) and 492 patients in the usual care group (control group). The meta-analysis results revealed that the Revised Piper Fatigue Scale (RPFS) scores of breast cancer patients in the intervention group were significantly lower than those in the control group (SMD = −0.82, 95% CI = −1.04 ∼ −0.60, P < 0.001). However, there was no significant difference in the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Treatment-Fatigue scale (FACIT-F) scores between the intervention and control groups (SMD = 0.09, 95% CI = −0.07 ∼ 0.25, P = 0.224). Subgroup analysis by ethnicity indicated that there were significant differences in RPFS and FACIT-F scores between the intervention and control groups among Asian populations (RPFS: SMD = −1.08, 95% CI = −1.35 ∼ −0.82, P < 0.001; FACIT-F: SMD = 1.20, 95 % CI = 0.70 ∼ 1.71, P < 0.001), but not among Caucasian populations (all P > 0.05). The current meta-analysis indicates that aerobic exercise may improve cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, especially among Asian populations.


Aerobic exercise Cancer-related fatigue Breast cancer Chemotherapy Meta-analysis 



This was funded by the Department of Science and Technology Project of Liaoning Province (2013225305). All authors read and approved the final manuscript. We would like to acknowledge the helpful comments on this paper received from our reviewers.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ling-Yun Zou
    • 1
  • Liu Yang
    • 1
  • Xiao-Ling He
    • 1
  • Ming Sun
    • 1
  • Jin-Jiang Xu
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.College of NursingLiaoning Medical UniversityJinzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Nursing DepartmentThe First Affiliated Hospital of Liaoning Medical UniversityJinzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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