Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most common side effects and leads to a significant impairment of quality of life (QoL). At the same time many cancer patients suffer from malnutrition. Studies show that both physical activity and a good nutritional status reduce CRF. Until now this has only been considered in isolation. This study aims a comprehensive view to evaluate the relation of fatigue with malnutrition and level of activity.
18 patients of the oncological sports and exercise therapy at the University Hospital Halle (Saale) were examined in a cross-sectional design. Outcome measures were the relevant values of body composition, such as body mass [% of fat-free mass] (BCM [% of FFM]), extracellular mass to body cell mass (ECM / BCM) and phase angle ϕ, which were determined by bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). Moreover CRF with EORTC QLQ FA12, Nutritional related QoL with FAACT, History and Current Level of Activity (Questionnaire from Woll) and Malnutrition with Subjective Global Assessment (SGA). The statistical analysis was made with description and Pearson’s correlations. Following, a linear regression analysis was supplemented with an ANOVA.
The correlation between physical fatigue and habitual physical activity had a correlation coefficient of -0.641 (p = 0.004). Between the physical fatigue and FAACT Total Score a negative linear correlation (correlation coefficient = -0.739, p < 0.01) could be found. The correlation of the physical fatigue and the values from the BIA did not show any significant results. The linear regression analysis showed that 47.8 % of the total fatigue could be explained by the Functional Assessment of Anorexia/Cachexia Therapy (corr. R2 = 0.478, p = 0.001) and that ECM/BCM and BCM [% of FFM] do not provide additional explanatory power.
It could be confirmed that the QoL of cancer patients is strongly limited by the CRF. The negative correlation between habitual activity and physical fatigue supports the hypothesis of the so-called "prehabilitation". It has been shown that it is a legitimate strategy to present nutritional status and level of physical activity in cancer patients with CRF at the same time.
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Has not received any funding.
P. Jahn: Research grant / Funding (institution): Chugai. C. Leithold: Honoraria (self): Fresenius. All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.