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Effects of high-intensity interval training compared with resistance training in prostate cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy: a randomized controlled trial



Exercise training has shown beneficial effects in the management of radiotherapy-related side effects in prostate cancer (PCa) patients undergoing radiation therapy (RT). However, the optimal modality of the exercise programs have not been yet determined. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and resistance training (RES) compared to usual care (UC) on cancer-treatment-related fatigue (CTRF) (primary outcome), quality of life, depression, daytime sleepiness, insomnia, sleep quality, functional exercise capacity and executive function in PCa patients during RT.


PCa patients undergoing RT with or without ADT were randomized in HIIT, RES or UC. Both exercise programs included three sessions per week during 5–8 weeks. HIIT consisted of 8–15 × 60 s intervals (≥85% maximal heart rate). RES was performed with 1–3 sets of 8–12 repetitions for each large muscle groups. The primary outcome was changed in CTRF measured with the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–Fatigue.


Seventy-two subjects (69.1 ± 8.2 years) completed the study. No exercise-related adverse events occurred. HIIT (p = 0.012) and RES (p = 0.039) training attenuated increases in CTRF compared to UC. Functional exercise capacity, evaluated by the 6-min walk test, increased after HIIT (p = 0 = 0.43) and RES (p = 0.041) compared to UC (+0.1%). No other secondary variables were different between groups.


Both intervention groups displayed beneficial effects on CTRF and functional exercise capacity in PCa patients undergoing RT. In addition, HIIT and RES are both safe with an excellent attendance rate to the exercise sessions.

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Fig. 1: Overview of HIIT protocol of the first session.
Fig. 2: CONSORT flow diagram.


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The authors would like to thank the participants of the studies, Laura Danneaux for her help in recruiting participants. EP was supported by a grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FRIA - FNRS). GR was supported by a grant from the Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique (Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium).

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Correspondence to Elise Piraux.

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Piraux, E., Caty, G., Renard, L. et al. Effects of high-intensity interval training compared with resistance training in prostate cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy: a randomized controlled trial. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 24, 156–165 (2021).

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