Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2021 Nov 9:1-14. doi: 10.1080/08880018.2021.1994677. Online ahead of print.
Despite recent improvements in survival rates in children with cancer, long-term toxicities remain a major concern. Physical activity could reduce the impact of long-term sequelae, notably in neuropsychological and physical areas. We report of a randomized trial of pure physical versus physical/attentional training in pediatric oncology patients. Twenty-two patients aged 6-18 y.o. were included, irrespective of their clinical diagnosis or treatment status, stratified by age and randomized 1:1 into pure physical vs. physical/attentional activity arms, with a cross-over at study midpoint. Neurological, motor and neuropsychological assessments were performed at inclusion, start, crossover and end of the program. Feasibility, defined as > 80% patients attending > 80% of sessions, was the primary endpoint. Secondary outcomes were improvements in neuropsychological and motor performance tests. While 68% of patients attended more than 80% of sessions during the pre-crossover phase of the study, this dropped to 36% post-crossover. Our study therefore failed to meet our primary endpoint. Nonetheless, significant improvements in anxiety (p<0.001), emotional control (p = 0.04), organization skills (p = 0.03), as well as motor deficit scores (p = 0.04) were observed. We noted no significant difference between the pure physical and the physical/attentional training arms, or when analyzing subgroups by age or sequence of intervention. We conclude that physical activity has a positive impact on anxiety, emotional and organizational aspects as well as motor deficits. Attendance dropped during the course of the study and motivational interventions should be included in future studies or equivalent programs.Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/08880018.2021.1994677 .
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