Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 3655–3664 | Cite as

Resistance training as supportive measure in advanced cancer patients undergoing TKI therapy—a controlled feasibility trial

  • F. Rosenberger
  • J. Wiskemann
  • S. Vallet
  • G. M. Haag
  • E. Schembri
  • D. Jäger
  • C. Grüllich
Original Article



While there is growing evidence for positive effects of progressive resistance training in curatively treated cancer patients, data on advanced cancer patients are scarce. This pilot study aimed at investigating for the first time feasibility and effects of progressive resistance training in advanced cancer patients undergoing tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy.


Patients starting a TKI-based anti-tumor therapy were assigned to a resistance training group (RT, 12 weeks of progressive machine-based resistance training 2×/week) or a control group (CON, treatment as usual) until 10 patients had finished in each group (RT 80% males, 90% renal cell carcinoma, 65 ± 11 years, CON 80% males, 70% renal cell carcinoma, 61 ± 6 years). Primary endpoint was feasibility. Furthermore, fatigue (MFI), quality of life (QoL, EORTC QLQC30), and muscle strength were assessed. Testing occurred at baseline and after 12 weeks.


Training was feasible in 9 out of 10 participants and no serious adverse events occurred. It had beneficial effects on muscle strength (maximum voluntary isometric contraction of the quadriceps: RT +11 ± 9 Nm, CON −13 ± 25 Nm, p = 0.005), but not on fatigue (general fatigue score RT +0.3 ± 4.1, CON -1.5 ± 3.0, p = 0.223) or QoL (global QoL score RT −5.6 ± 16.1, CON −2.0 ± 18.2, p = 0.617).


Progressive machine-based resistance training appears feasible in the majority of advanced cancer patients undergoing TKI therapy. However, its positive effects on muscle strength do not seem to be associated with positive effects on fatigue or quality of life. Future studies should therefore compare whether home-based training is more beneficial for patient-reported outcomes.

Trial registration



Exercise Advanced cancer Tyrosine kinase inhibitor Physical fitness Fatigue Quality of life 



We thank Professor Karen Steindorf, Division of Physical Activity, Prevention and Cancer, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany, for the helpful discussions on study design and conduct and the continuous support with important resources including the diagnostic lab facilities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Oncology, National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT)Heidelberg University HospitalHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Division of Health SciencesGerman University of Applied Sciences for Prevention and Health Management (DHfPG)SaarbrückenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Internal MedicineMedical University of KremsKremsAustria

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