Observational studies have demonstrated a 30-50% lower risk of disease-specific and overall mortality in physically active breast and colorectal cancer patients as compared to sedentary individuals. However, there have been no randomized trials looking at the impact of physical activity on cancer outcomes, and the optimal design of such a trial is not yet well-defined. The Active After Cancer Trial (AACT) is a multicenter feasibility study designed to evaluate the ability of a telephone-based intervention to increase physical activity in patients with breast and colorectal cancer. Methods: Sedentary (reporting less than 60 minutes/week of recreational activity) individuals with stage I-III breast or colorectal cancer were eligible for enrollment after completion of all adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation. Participants were randomized 1:1 to a centralized telephone coaching intervention, with a target goal of 180 minutes/week of physical activity, or to a usual care control group. Intervention participants received an average of 10 telephone contacts over 16-weeks. Initial calls focused upon building self-efficacy and later calls concentrated upon relapse prevention and maintenance of exercise behaviors. Participants underwent assessment of physical activity behaviors (7-Day Physical Activity Recall), fitness (6-Minute Walk Test), physical functioning (EORTC QLQ C-30), fatigue (FACIT) and exercise self-efficacy at baseline and 16 weeks after enrollment.

Results: One hundred and twenty-one patients were enrolled through 10 Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) institutions; 100 patients had breast cancer and 21 had colorectal cancer. Average age was 54.3, 74% of patients had received chemotherapy and mean time since completion of adjuvant treatment was 24 months. Participants randomized to the exercise group experienced significant improvements in fitness and physical functioning as compared to controls.

Table. Baseline measures and change (post-minus pre) scores in intervention and control patients (±SD)

Intervention participants also reported a doubling in minutes of weekly physical activity, but this was not a significant increase compared to controls.

Conclusions: Sedentary breast and colorectal cancer survivors can be enrolled in a physical activity intervention. A centralized telephone coaching intervention successfully increased fitness and physical functioning, although self-reported exercise time was not significantly changed. A large-scale clinical trial within the co-operative groups is feasible.

Citation Information: Cancer Res 2010;70(24 Suppl):Abstract nr PD08-09.