Anthracycline chemotherapy (AC) is an efficacious (neo) adjuvant treatment for early-stage breast cancer (BCa), but is associated with an increased risk of cardiac dysfunction and functional disability. Observations suggest that regular exercise may be a useful therapy for the prevention of cardiovascular morbidity but it is yet to be interrogated in a large randomised trial. The primary aims of this study are to: 1) determine if 12-months of ET commenced at the onset of AC can reduce the proportion of BCa patients with functional disability (peak VO2, < 18 ml/kg/min), and 2) compare current standard-of-care for detecting cardiac dysfunction (resting left-ventricular ejection fraction assessed from 3-dimensional echocardiography) to measures of cardiac reserve (peak exercise cardiac output assessed from exercise cardiac magnetic resonance imaging) for predicting the development of functional disability 12-months following AC. Secondary aims are to assess the effects of ET on VO2peak, left ventricular morphology, vascular stiffness, cardiac biomarkers, body composition, bone mineral density, muscle strength, physical function, habitual physical activity, cognitive function, and multidimensional quality of life.
One hundred women with early-stage BCa (40-75 years) scheduled for AC will be randomized to 12-months of structured exercise training (n = 50) or a usual care control group (n = 50). Participants will be assessed at baseline, 4-weeks following completion of AC (4-months) and at 12-months for all measures.
Women diagnosed with early-stage BCa have increased cardiac mortality. More sensitive strategies for diagnosing and preventing AC-induced cardiovascular impairment are critical for reducing cardiovascular morbidity and improving long-term health outcomes in BCa survivors.
Australia & New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR), ID: 12617001408370 . Registered on 5th of October 2017.