Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Effect of exercise on cancer-related fatigue: A systematic review

Stefania Cataldi, Gianpiero Greco, Mario Mauro, Francesco Fischetti



Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world and cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is the most common disease in cancer patients that received radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biotherapy. Many studies recommended physical activity and exercise to improve fatigue. This systematic review aims to provide a qualitative synthesis of Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs) evaluating the effects of Aerobic, Resistance, Endurance and combined exercises on CRF versus control or different exercise group in cancer adult patients and survivors that did not receive palliative care. This systematic review is written and presented according to PRISMA protocols. Articles in the English language were collected using the PubMed and WoS databases from 2001 January 1st to 2019 September 1st. Only RCTs lasted 5 weeks or more were analysed of which CRF outcomes were examined. A total of 15 RCTs met our inclusion criteria. Different outcomes in CRF self-reports were found between Aerobic, Resistance, Endurance and Combined exercises. Findings suggest that exercise improves CRF, especially with aerobic or combined programs. The outcomes of trials could help exercise professionals to properly plan the sessions by dosing the volume and intensity. Nevertheless, more studies are needed to better understand the benefits of physical exercise on cancer patients.


Aerobic; Resistance; Endurance; Combined exercise; Physical activity; Cancer


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