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Open Access Study protocol

Rationale and design of the Exercise Intensity Trial (EXCITE): A randomized trial comparing the effects of moderate versus moderate to high-intensity aerobic training in women with operable breast cancer

Lee W Jones1*, Pamela S Douglas1, Neil D Eves2, P Kelly Marcom1, William E Kraus1, James E Herndon1, Brant A Inman1, Jason D Allen1 and Jeffrey Peppercorn1

Author Affiliations

1 Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

2 University of British Columbia, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:531  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-531

Published: 6 October 2010

Abstract

Background

The Exercise Intensity Trial (EXcITe) is a randomized trial to compare the efficacy of supervised moderate-intensity aerobic training to moderate to high-intensity aerobic training, relative to attention control, on aerobic capacity, physiologic mechanisms, patient-reported outcomes, and biomarkers in women with operable breast cancer following the completion of definitive adjuvant therapy.

Methods/Design

Using a single-center, randomized design, 174 postmenopausal women (58 patients/study arm) with histologically confirmed, operable breast cancer presenting to Duke University Medical Center (DUMC) will be enrolled in this trial following completion of primary therapy (including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy). After baseline assessments, eligible participants will be randomized to one of two supervised aerobic training interventions (moderate-intensity or moderate/high-intensity aerobic training) or an attention-control group (progressive stretching). The aerobic training interventions will include 150 mins.wk-1 of supervised treadmill walking per week at an intensity of 60%-70% (moderate-intensity) or 60% to 100% (moderate to high-intensity) of the individually determined peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) between 20-45 minutes/session for 16 weeks. The progressive stretching program will be consistent with the exercise interventions in terms of program length (16 weeks), social interaction (participants will receive one-on-one instruction), and duration (20-45 mins/session). The primary study endpoint is VO2peak, as measured by an incremental cardiopulmonary exercise test. Secondary endpoints include physiologic determinants that govern VO2peak, patient-reported outcomes, and biomarkers associated with breast cancer recurrence/mortality. All endpoints will be assessed at baseline and after the intervention (16 weeks).

Discussion

EXCITE is designed to investigate the intensity of aerobic training required to induce optimal improvements in VO2peak and other pertinent outcomes in women who have completed definitive adjuvant therapy for operable breast cancer. Overall, this trial will inform and refine exercise guidelines to optimize recovery in breast and other cancer survivors following the completion of primary cytotoxic therapy.

Trial Registration

NCT01186367