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A mixed exercise training programme is feasible and safe and may improve quality of life and muscle strength in multiple myeloma survivors

Lara Groeneveldt1, Gill Mein3, Rachel Garrod3, Andrew P Jewell3, Ken Van Someren5, Richard Stephens4, Shirley P D’Sa2 and Kwee L Yong1*

Author Affiliations

1 Cancer Institute, University College London, 72 Huntley Street, WC1E 6DD, London, UK

2 Department of Haematology, University College London Hospitals, London, UK

3 Faculty of Health Care Sciences, St. George’s University of London, London, UK

4 MRC Clinical Trials Unit, London, UK

5 English Institute of Sport, London, UK

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:31  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-31

Published: 24 January 2013



Exercise programmes are beneficial for cancer patients however evidence is limited in patients with multiple myeloma (MM), a cancer that is characterised by osteolytic bone disease, giving rise to high levels of bone morbidity including fractures and bone pain.


We conducted a single arm phase 2 study of an exercise programme (EP) as rehabilitation for treated MM patients, to evaluate feasibility, effects on QOL and physiological parameters. Patients were given individualised programmes, comprising stretching, aerobic and resistance exercises, carried out under supervision for 3 months then at home for a further 3 months.


Study uptake was high, 60 of 75 (80%) patients approached consented to the study. Screen failures (11, due to fracture risk and disease relapse) and patient withdrawals (12) resulted in a final 37 patients enrolling on the programme. These 37 patients demonstrated high attendance rates in the supervised classes (87%), and high levels of adherence in home exercising (73%). Patients reported better QOL following the EP, with improvement in FACT-G and Fatigue scores over time from baseline (p<0.01 for both, one-way repeated measures ANOVA) to 6 months. Upper and lower limb strength also improved on the EP, from baseline to 6 months (p<0.01 for both). There were no adverse reactions.


An EP in MM patients is feasible and safe, with high attendance and adherence. Benefits in QOL, fatigue and muscle strength await confirmation in randomized studies, prompting urgent evaluation of the benefits of EP in the rehabilitation of MM patients.

Myeloma; Bone disease; Exercise; Fatigue