Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2012) 11, 638 - 642

Research article
Influence of Endurance Exercise on the Risk of Pneumonia and Fever in Leukemia and Lymphoma Patients Undergoing High Dose Chemotherapy. A Pilot Study
Freerk T. Baumann1, , Philipp Zimmer1, Karen Finkenberg1, Michael Hallek2, Wilhelm Bloch1, Thomas Elter2
Author Information
1 Department of Molecular and Cellular Sport Medicine, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany
2 Department I of Internal Medicine, Center for Integrated Oncology Köln Bonn, University of Cologne, Germany

Freerk T. Baumann
✉ Department of Molecular and Cellular Sport Medicine, German Sport University Cologne, Germany, Am Sportpark Müngersdorf 6, 50933 Cologne
Publish Date
Received: 27-04-2012
Accepted: 30-07-2012
Published (online): 01-12-2012
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Pneumonia and fever are common side effects of high dose chemotherapy (HDC). The positive influence of physical activity on physiological and psychological parameters in cancer patients has been demonstrated in several studies. In this non-randomized controlled pilot study we investigated the infection and pneumonia risk in 36 high dose chemotherapy patients undergoing a supervised endurance exercise program. 18 patients exercised for at least 3 weeks, starting with initiation of chemotherapy. These patients in the intervention group were compared with 18 patients who were matched by disease (leukemia/lymphoma), sex, age, risk factors, therapy protocols and did not take part in the exercise intervention. Leukemia and lymphoma groups were evaluated separately. In the leukemia group significant higher pneumonia rates could be observed in the control group (p = 0.040) when compared to the intervention group. Further an almost significantly higher risk (p = 0.061) of developing a pneumonia and fever was detected in the control group. In this pilot study, we gained first important positive experiences in possibly preventing pneumonias and fever through endurance training. Due to the non-randomized study design and small sample size the results are limited yet not irrelevant. RCTs with larger sample sizes are necessary to prove these findings.

Key words: Exercise, chemotherapy, cancer, pneumonia, fever, activity

           Key Points
  • Infections are the leading cause of treatment-related mortality in cancer patients.
  • We gained first important data in possibly preventing pneumonia and fever during chemotherapy through exercise.
  • Due to the non-randomized study design and small sample size these findings are limited
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