Strength training and quality of life in Black prostate cancer patients on ADT

Black males have high rates of incidence and mortality associated with prostate cancer … significantly higher than Caucasians of similar ages. Thus, Black male patients are more likely to require androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer (PCa), and suffer associated side effects (including loss of muscle mass, weakness, fatigue, and reduced quality of life [QoL]).

It is already well known that Caucasian men taking ADT can benefit from various types of exercise to ameliorate some of the side effects of ADT. In a recent study, Hanson et al. set out to explore whether strength training (ST) would increase muscle power and size (thereby improving body composition, physical function, fatigue levels, and QoL) in older Black men with prostate cancer under treatment with ADT.

It should immediately be recognized that this study involved only a small number of men, and is best considered as a pilot study that will need to be validated by data from a larger study over a longer time period.

The study was carried out by measuring  muscle mass, power, strength, endurance, physical function, fatigue perception, and QoL among 17 Black males starting treatment with ADT for progressive prostate cancer. All measurements were conducted before the men started on ADT and then, again,after 12 weeks of ST.

Core results of the study showed that:

  • ST significantly increased all of the following relative to baseline levels:
    • Total body muscle mass (by 2.7 percent)
    • Thigh muscle volume (by 6.4 percent)
    • Power (by 17 percent)
    • Strength ( by 28 percent)
    • Functional performance (by 20 percent)
    • Muscle endurance (by 110 percent)
    • QoL scores (by 7 percent)
  • ST significantly decreased fatigue perception (by 38 percent).
  • Improved muscle function was associated with higher functional performance and lower fatigue perception.
  • Higher functional performance and lower fatigue perception were both associated with improved QoL.
  • Fatigue perception tended to be associated with muscle endurance.

The authors concluded that, even when serum testosterone levels are very low in men on ADT, ST can elicit muscle hypertrophy counteract the adverse functional consequences of ADT in older, Black prostate cancer patients.

We would again note that this is a small, pilot-like study, but it is certainly sufficient to offer preliminary data that ST is a wise form of exercise for older Black mles on treatment with ADT for progressive prostate cancer.

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