Cancer Adverse Effects PreventIon With Care & Exercise: the CAPRICE Study

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Similarly, Hodgkin and non- Hodgkin lymphomas make up two of the most prevalent cancers in men and women. Even though remarkable improvements in cancer-free survival have been achieved in the last decades, the development of cardiac toxicity, associated with anthracycline-based chemotherapy (Anth-bC) counteracts the improvements in survival in these patient groups. One of the first clinical manifestation of Anth-bC cardiotoxicity is diastolic dysfunction, with further symptoms being left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure as well as a decline in exercise tolerance. Besides the direct cardiotoxic effects of anticancer treatment, many drugs also have adverse effects on the vascular endothelium.

The concept of 'Exercise is Medicine' has become well established in exercise-oncology research. Exercise therapy is now considered a safe and well-tolerated adjunct therapy inducing beneficial effects on body composition, aerobic fitness and muscular strength, pain and fatigue, quality of life (QoL), depressive symptoms, and all cause survival. However, there is insufficient data on the superiority of performing exercise training therapy before and during chemotherapy with regard to cardiotoxic and cardiovascular side effects. Further, there is no data on patient preference for and barriers toward different timings of exercise training therapy.

The aim of the CAPRICE study is to compare left ventricular (LV) function measured by LV global longitudinal strain (GLS) in breast cancer and lymphoma patients undergoing Anth-bC. Women and men aged 18 years and older with histologically confirmed breast cancer or lymphoma (ECOG grade 0-2) who are Anth-bC naïve and with reasonable life expectancy will be included in the study. They will be randomised to completing an exercise-based rehabilitation programme during or after chemotherapy. The exercise programme is part of onco-rehabilitation programmes at the Inselspital Bern, the Spital AG Thun and the Bürgerspital Solothurn. Programmes last for 12 weeks and offer two supervised sessions per week (@ 60-90 min). They usually contain an endurance component (e.g. 40 min of cycling) and a strength, agility or relaxation component. Patients are encouraged to complete a third exercise session per week at home or elsewhere. Home-based training and general physical activity will be assessed by a questionnaire and an activity monitor. Primary endpoint is change in left ventricular contractility (global longitudinal strain) by echocardiography from before to after Anth-bc. Further, blood samples will be drawn to analyse biomarkers of myocardial injury (brain natriuretic peptide and high-sensitive cardiac troponin). Additional measurements include aortic distensibility as part of the echocardiographic examination and exercise capacity through cardiopulmonary exercise testing. QoL and fatigue will be assessed in a questionnaire, compliance with exercise training through monitoring and patient preference at 3 and 6 months will be evaluated through an interview. Cardiovascular risk factors will be assessed through body composition, 24h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, 24h electrocardiogram and the analysis of established blood markers.

Recruitment takes place at the oncology departments of the University Hospital Berne, Spital AG Thun and Bürgerspital Solothurn and has started in Mai 2019. Recruitment will be concluded in 2022, target sample size is 120 patients. Identifier: NCT03850171

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