(HealthDay News) — For patients with advanced/metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), greater total physical activity is not associated with longer overall survival, but it may prolong progression-free survival and lower the risk for treatment-related toxicities, according to a study published online Aug. 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Brendan J. Guercio, M.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues administered a validated questionnaire that reported average physical activity over the previous two months to 1,218 patients within one month after therapy initiation for mCRC. Metabolic equivalent task (MET) hours per week were calculated to quantify physical activity.

The researchers found that patients engaging in 18 or more MET hours per week experienced an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.85 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.71 to 1.02; Ptrend = 0.06) for overall survival and 0.83 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.70 to 0.99; Ptrend = 0.01) for progression-free survival compared with patients engaged in less than three MET hours per week of physical activity. Patients engaging in nine or more MET hours per week had an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.73 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.62 to 0.86; Ptrend < 0.001) for grade 3 or greater treatment-related adverse events compared with patients engaging in less than nine MET hours per week.

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“Although our observational study does not offer evidence for causality, it builds on mounting evidence that demonstrates improved CRC outcomes with greater physical activity and extends this association to CRC with metastases,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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