Resistance training and quality of life among men on ADT


A newly published study has added to the mounting evidence that resistance training and related exercises are a valuable complement to medical care for men on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).

Winters-Stone et al. (at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR) studied the effects of regular resistance exercise on the strength, physical function, and disability level of prostate cancer survivors, all of whom were on treatment with ADT.

A total of 51 patients were randomized into one or other of two groups:

  • Patients in Group A were asked to complete a regular regimen of moderate to vigorous intensity resistance training for 1 year.
  • Patients in Group B were asked to complete a regular stretching regimen (as a form of placebo control), also for 1 year.

Here are their findings:

  • The average (mean) age of the patients was 70.7 years
  • Overall retention of patients in the study was 84 percent.
  • Average (median) attendance at the supervised classes for men in Group A was 84 percent.
  • There were no study-related injuries.
  • Compared to the men in Group B, men in Group A exhibited
    • Improvement in maximal leg press strength (P = 0.032)
    • Improvement in maximal bench press strength (P = 0.027)
  • Patients’ self-reported physical function
    • Improved among the men in Group A
    • Declined among the men in Group B
    • The difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P = 0.016).
  • Disability lessened more among men in Group A compared to men in Group B (P = 0.018).

The authors conclude that:

One year of resistance training improved muscle strength in androgen-deprived [prostate cancer survivors]. Strengthening muscles using functional movement patterns may be an important feature of exercise programs designed to improve perceptions of physical function and disability. Findings from this study contribute to the mounting evidence that exercise become a routine part of clinical care in older men with advanced prostate cancer.

3 Responses

  1. I am a physical therapist, diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at age 52 and have been on androgen deprivation for 12.5 years. I am so happy to see this study. I have worked hard with resistance training over the years. I have lost muscle mass but remain strong, active and feel great. As a physical therapist, I encourage all seniors to perform resistance training and especially if you are on androgen blocking medications. Resistance training will make you feel better, improve your physical capacity, slow the loss of bone density, and improve your attitude.

  2. As an “early adopter/promoter” of exercise for men on long-term ADT, this study is no revelation. It is hardly surprising to learn that leg and muscle strength improved amongst a group of men who exercised consistently for 12 months — that would likely be true for any group. What interests me is how it impacted various ADT side effects. The fact that men perceived themselves as healthier/fitter is a big accomplishment.

    UCSF has had limited success promoting exercise in its approach to advanced treatment. And, a prostate cancer buddy being treated at MSKCC has recently been the catalyst for a new men’s exercise program with Donna Wilson at the MSKCC Integrative Medicine Center.

    I am unable to download a full copy of this article but am curious to learn more about the prostate cancer-specific findings, especially with respect to to “disability”. How was that quantified and measured?

  3. Rick:

    You’d need to ask someone at OHSU for a copy of the full text of the article.

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