Dr Hillengass on the Rationale For Investigating the Effect of Exercise on Functional Performance in Multiple Myeloma

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Jens Hillengass, MD, PhD, discusses the rationale for investigating exercise and its effect on functional performance in multiple myeloma, and highlights the methods utilized in this study.

Jens Hillengass, MD, PhD, professor, Oncology and Internal Medicine, chief, Department of Myeloma, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, professor of medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Buffalo, discusses the rationale for investigating exercise and its effect on functional performance in multiple myeloma, and highlights the methods utilized in this study.

Investigators shared data from patients with multiple myeloma evaluated in this 2-arm, nonrandomized pilot exercise study at the 2023 International Myeloma Symposium, showing that exercises that included resistance training and walking were safe and effective at improving frailty scores in this patient population. Previous findings from the study revealed a significant enhancement in immune function among participants.

Many patients being treated for cancer desire to regain the active lifestyle that they enjoyed prior to their diagnosis, Hillengass begins. These individuals often seek guidance on how to safely reintroduce physical activity into their lives, Hillengass explains. However, the lack of substantial data in this area, compounded by concerns related to bone disease and the risk of fractures, limits clinicians’ ability to provide patients with conclusive recommendations, Hillengass emphasizes.

In response to this need, investigators launched a prospective study to assess the safety and potential benefits of exercise in this patient group, Hillengass expands. Patients in the pilot study were randomly assigned to 2 distinct subgroups, Hillengass says. The first group participated remotely, in order to account for concerns or challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic he notes. These patients were equipped with Fitbit devices and received prompts encouraging them to increase their daily step count and engage in a specific number of active minutes per week from their homes, Hillengass says. The second group participated in a supervised resistance training program, Hillengass explains. These patients attended the investigational treatment center twice a week, where they engaged in exercises specifically designed to enhance muscle strength and improve mobility, Hillengass notes.

Results from this study can better inform the integration of exercise into patients’ lives while accounting for their unique health concerns, Hillengass concludes.

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