Physical Activity In Older Adults With Metastatic Gastrointestinal Cancer: A Pilot And Feasibility Study

Justin C. Brown, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans
Elizabeth Brighton, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Nancy Campbell, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Nadine J. McCleary, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Thomas A. Abrams, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
James M. Cleary, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Peter C. Enzinger, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Kimmie Ng, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Douglas Rubinson, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Brian M. Wolpin, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Matthew B. Yurgelun, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Objectives This study determined the feasibility of delivering a 12-week structured physical activity programme during chemotherapy to older adults recently diagnosed with metastatic gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. Methods This study used a single-cohort design. Older adults (aged ≥65 years) diagnosed with metastatic oesophageal, gastric, pancreatic or colorectal cancer who planned to initiate chemotherapy were enrolled. The physical activity programme included a combination of aerobic, flexibility, strength and balance modalities delivered by a certified cancer exercise trainer during chemotherapy infusion appointments, then translated and sustained at home by participants. The co-primary endpoints included: (1) accrual of 20 participants in 12 months and (2) physical activity adherence of ≥50%. Results Between March and October 2018, 29 participants were screened, and 20 were enrolled within 12 months (recruitment rate: 69% (90% CI: 55% to 83%); p<0.001), meeting the first co-primary endpoint. The median age of participants was 73.3 years (IQR: 69.3-77.2). At week 12, 67% (90% CI: 48% to 85%) of participants adhered to ≥50% of the prescribed physical activity (p=0.079 (statistically significant)), meeting the second co-primary endpoint. From baseline to week 12, accelerometer-measured light-intensity and moderate-intensity to vigorous-intensity physical activity increased by 307.4 (95% CI: 152.6 to 462.2; p<0.001) and 25.0 min per week (95% CI: 9.9 to 40.1; p=0.001), respectively. There were no serious or unexpected adverse events. The median overall survival was 16.2 months (8.4-22.4). Conclusion These results establish the feasibility of a larger scale randomised controlled trial that enrols older adults with metastatic GI cancer and delivers a structured physical activity programme during chemotherapy. Trial registration number NCT03331406.