More than 150 researchers worldwide will be taking part in a clinical trial on whether exercise can improve prostate cancer symptoms and delay the disease’s progression.
The key goal of the Global Action Plan 4 Global Prostate Cancer (GAP4) study is to see if high-intensity aerobic and resistance training, combined with psychosocial support, can benefit men with prostate cancer. Researchers will also look at what exercise-related mechanisms affect the biology underlying advanced prostate cancer.
The initiative is part of a collaborative effort funded by the Movember Foundation. It includes researchers in the United Kingdom, the University of California at San Francisco, Australia’s Edith Cowan University, and others.
Researchers at the University of Surrey and Royal Surrey County Hospital in England will design a special exercise program for the trial. Eight hundred sixty-six prostate cancer patients will try it over three years at sites in Europe, North America, and Australia.
“The benefits of exercise to both our physical and mental well-being are undeniable,” Dr. Ralph Manders, who is co-leading the Surrey team, said in a press release. “What we are hoping to uncover is whether the same benefits are experienced when a person is living with cancer, and whether it extends their survival from cancer. If it does, this could be revolutionary in the future of treating and supporting people with prostate cancer.”
Participants will be divided into two groups. One — the intervention arm — will receive a combination of a specially designed exercise training program with behavioral and psychosocial support. The other — the control arm — will receive psychosocial support only. The control group can continue their usual exercise and lifestyle routine, however.
The intervention group will exercise three times a week. They will be supervised by a professional trainer until they can train independently.
When they can manage the training by themselves, they will continue receiving text messages and tailored newsletters to provide behavioral support. The control group will receive support only through newsletters.
The yardsticks for measuring exercise’s impact on the patients will include how long they survive, how long it takes for their disease to progress, whether their symptoms improve, whether they have to take pain medication, and inflammatory markers of their disease.
“Conventional treatments and therapies remain the primary means of attack against prostate cancer,” said Sam Gledhill of the Movember Foundation. “However, incremental improvements that can be achieved by other means all amount to valuable extra time and quality of life for men diagnosed with the disease.
“The Movember Foundation is grateful to our remarkable community of fundraisers for supporting this important study that is contributing to the evidence and understanding around how exercise can be a vital factor in extending and improving men’s lives,” Gledhill said.
The GAP4 Steering Committee is finalizing the clinical trial protocols and documentation so the study can begin soon.
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