Exercise on quality of life and cancer-related fatigue for lymphoma survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Lixing Liu
  • Xiran He
  • Li FengEmail author
Review Article



People treated for lymphoma can experience several significant long-term and late effects, including fatigue and decreased quality of life. This study aimed to systematically review the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and to conduct a meta-analysis of the effect of exercise on quality of life and other health outcomes for adults suffering from lymphoma.


We searched the following databases and sources: PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, Web of Science, and MEDLINE. Such studies would be included if they were RCT designs which focus on observing the evaluated health outcomes of exercise intervention for lymphoma patients or survivors, comparing with non-exercise or wait-list control groups. Two review authors independently screened search results, extracted data, and assessed the quality of trials. We used standardized mean differences for quality of life (QoL), fatigue, sleep quality, and depression.


Six publications have met the inclusion criteria and the exercise interventions are short term. Slight improvement can be seen on QoL, fatigue, sleep quality, and depression due to exercise for lymphoma patients. Subgroup analysis was carried out according to the classification of mind-body exercise and aerobic exercise, and significant progress can be seen after mind-body exercise intervention in the area of fatigue and sleep.


Short-term exercises do not appear to convey benefits to quality of life and other psychosocial outcomes. Subgroup analysis showed that physical activity together with mental exercise may be more beneficial to lymphoma patients, but it needs more research to verify this finding. The interpretation of this result should be cautious due to the baseline difference, completion efficiency of intervention process, and high heterogeneity.


Exercise Randomized controlled trial Quality of life Fatigue Lymphoma 



Overall survival


Randomized controlled trials


Quality of life


Hodgkin’s lymphoma


Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma


Cancer-related fatigue



This study was funded by Cancer Hospital of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Award project for Talent Development Fund (Grant Number RC2016007) and Beijing Science and Technology Commission “Research and Development of Ten Diseases and Ten Drugs” Project (Grant Number Z171100001717017).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chinese Medicine, National Cancer Center/National Clinical Research Center for Cancer/Cancer HospitalChinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Center/National Clinical Research Center for Cancer/Cancer HospitalChinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingChina

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