Healthy Exercise for Lymphoma Patients (HELP)

Summary of the HELP Trial

The Healthy Exercise for Lymphoma Patients (HELP) Trial was the first to focus on lymphoma patients, a largely understudied patient group. In the trial, we compared aerobic exercise to usual care in 122 lymphoma patients receiving chemotherapy or no treatments. A unique feature of the HELP trial was that we were able to directly compare the exercise response of lymphoma patients on chemotherapy versus off treatments . In the primary paper, we showed that aerobic exercise improved health-related fitness and patient-reported outcomes including quality of life, fatigue, and depression [ Courneya et al. J. Clin. Onc. 2009; 27 :4605-12] . Moreover, we found that patients on chemotherapy had the same positive response to exercise as patients not on treatments. Unexpectedly, we found that 46% of lymphoma patients in the exercise group had a complete response to their chemotherapy compared to just 31% in the usual care group. This finding suggests the possibility of a better treatment outcome for patients who exercise during chemotherapy . In subgroup analyses we found that improvements in quality of life were most pronounced for patients who were unmarried, had more advanced disease, and were in poorer health [ Courneya et al. Cancer Epi. Bio. Prev. 2009; 18 :2600-7] . Finally, we found an excellent adherence rate of 78% that was predicted by older age, no previous treatment with radiation therapy, a normal weight, and not being a smoker [ Courneya et al. Annals Beh. Med. 2010; 40 :30-9] . Overall, the HELP trial provided the first compelling data that exercise is safe, feasible, and effective for improving health outcomes in lymphoma patients without interfering with their ability to complete or respond to chemotherapy treatment.

Publications from the HELP Trial

Courneya, K.S. , Sellar, C.M. , Stevinson, C. , McNeely, M.L. , Peddle, C.J. , Friedenreich, C.M., Tankel, K., Basi, S., Chua, N., Mazurek, A., & Reiman, T. (2009). Randomized controlled trial of the effects of aerobic exercise on physical functioning and quality of life in lymphoma patients. Journal of Clinical Oncology , 27 , 4605-4612.

Courneya, K.S. , Sellar, C.M. , Stevinson, C. , McNeely, M.L. , Friedenreich, C.M., Peddle, C.J. , Basi, S., Chua, N., Tankel, K., Mazurek, A., & Reiman, T. (2009). Moderator effects in a randomized controlled trial of exercise training in lymphoma patients. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention , 18 , 2600-2607.

Courneya, K.S. , Stevinson, C. , McNeely, M.L. , Sellar, C.M. , Peddle, C.J. , Friedenreich, C.M., Mazurek, A., Chua, N., Tankel, K., Basi, S., & Reiman, T. (2010). Predictors of adherence to supervised exercise in lymphoma patients participating in a randomized controlled trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine , 40 , 30-39.

Courneya, K.S. , Stevinson, C. , McNeely, M.L. , Sellar, C.M. , Friedenreich, C.M., Peddle-McIntyre, C.J. , Chua, N., & Reiman, T. (in press). Predictors of follow-up exercise behavior six months after a randomized trial of supervised exercise training in lymphoma patients. Psycho-Oncology .

Courneya, K.S. , Stevinson, C. , McNeely, M.L. , Sellar, C.M. , Friedenreich, C.M., Peddle-McIntyre, C.J., Chua, N., & Reiman, T. (2011). Effects of supervised exercise on motivational outcomes and longer term adherence. Manuscript submitted for publication.