Case report of exercise to attenuate side effects of treatment for pancreatic cancer

M. McLaughlin, A. Christie, Anna Campbell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Treatments for pancreatic cancer can have debilitating side effects including fatigue, weight loss, and cardiac toxicity, resulting in functional loss and psychological distress. Exercise has been proposed as a therapy to counteract physical and psychological detriments. The case: A 47-year-old male undergoing chemotherapy for stage 3 locally advanced pancreatic cancer. He was cycling during hospital chemotherapy infusions (6 fortnightly cycles of FOLFIRINOX: 5-FU 2, 400 mg/m2, over 48 h: irinotecan 180 mg/m2, oxaliplatin 85 mg/m2, no 5-FU bolus) plus 12 weeks of twice weekly aerobic and resistance exercise. Over 12 weeks, body composition was maintained, and physical function improved, with specific increases in muscular strength of up to 50% and aerobic capacity improving by 9%. Moreover, quality of life, fatigue, psychological distress, and sleep quality improved by 38, 113, 50, and 9%, respectively. Additionally, the participant experienced more severe side effects in week 6, when he did not cycle to a high intensity during hospital infusion and had less total weekly exercise. After cycle 6 (week 11), chemotherapy was halted, and a Whipple resection procedure was successfully performed. It can be concluded that regular aerobic and resistance exercise plus exercise during infusion can attenuate expected decline in physical and mental health with pancreatic cancer treatment and may reduce treatment side effects and have favourable effects on prognosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-854
Number of pages10
JournalCase Reports in Oncology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • pancreatic cancer
  • exercise
  • chemotherapy
  • case report


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