Study investigates feasibility and effect of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for children with cancer

TUSPFSP-newscat-sg, News der Fakultät |

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be used as an adjunctive therapy for adult cancer patients and has a positive effect on some side effects of the disease as well as the therapy. Whether HIIT can also be used during the treatment of children and adolescents with cancer and what the effect of the training is, was investigated for the first time in a study by the Chair of Preventive Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Munich Schwabing of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in cooperation with the Associate Professorship of Exercise Biology of the Department of Sport and Health Sciences. The results of the study reveal important differences between sports oncology for adults and for children: HIIT is not feasible for the majority of children with cancer, so interventions need to be developed that are feasible for as many children with cancer as possible. The physiological effects of HIIT and its potential impact on patients and their disease are still largely unexplored in children.

Dr. Sabine Kesting with a patient on the ergometer at the TU Munich
Prof. Dr. Renate Oberhoffer-Fritz, Dekanin der Fakultät für Sport- und Gesundheitswissenschaften und Inhaberin des Lehrstuhls für Präventive Pädiatrie
Peter Weeber, Research Associate and Doctoral Candidate at the Associate Professorship of Exercise Biology

Sport as a complementary form of therapy
For some years, sport has been used as an adjunctive treatment for adult cancer patients. Studies report improved survival rates and a lower recurrence of breast, prostate or colon cancer in physically active patients. In addition, physical performance can be improved, quality of life increased and side effects, such as fatigue (chronic fatigue), reduced.

Children are not small adults
"The patients participated very well in the training and even exceeded our expectations," emphasizes Dr. Sabine Kesting from the Chair of Preventive Pediatrics. "Unfortunately, however, the majority of children and adolescents are not fit enough during treatment to participate in HIIT without risk." This means that young patients are clearly different from adults in terms of the possibilities of exercise that accompanies therapy. In the context of further studies, the intensity and dosage of this specific type of training must therefore be optimized, according to the sports scientist.

Analysis of the physiological mechanisms involved in sports activity comes into focus
Peter Weeber, a doctoral student at the Associate Professorship of Exercise Biology, sees further differences: "While we already understand the physiological mode of action of sports in adult cancer patients quite well, the bodies of children with cancer are more of a black box here." He said his focus is therefore on analyzing the physiological mode of action of exercise explicitly in children with cancer. "If we find out which markers change in children as a result of exercise and how these affect cancer cells, we can also use exercise in a very targeted way in pediatric oncology," Weeber said. Low-threshold exercise programs under sports science guidance are already available to all children with cancer at the TUM's Munich Schwabing Children's Hospital.

PD Dr. Irene Teichert-von Lüttichau, Head of the Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation at the Children's Hospital Munich Schwabing and head of the study, classifies: "Sports and exercise can support the treatment of people with cancer. Therefore, on the one hand, we would like to establish exercise programs for children with cancer on a broad scale, and on the other hand, we would like to understand how physical activity affects the bodies of these children. This translational research approach is implemented at our company by Dr. Kesting and Mr. Weeber."

"The average of 2.200 children and adolescents who develop cancer in Germany each year deserve the best treatment. This study has shown that we need further research on therapy-accompanying sports in children," commented Prof. Dr. Renate Oberhoffer-Fritz, Dean of the Department of Sport and Health Sciences and head of the Chair of Preventive Pediatrics.

The study, which was conducted at TUM's Munich Schwabing Children's Hospital in cooperation with the Associate Professorship of Exercise Biology, has now been published in the journal Cancers (impact factor: 6.639).


To the publication in the journal "Cancers"

To the homepage of the Chair of Preventive Pediatrics

To the homepage of the Associate Professorship of Exercise Biology

To the homepage of the Children's Hospital Munich Schwabing

 

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Renate Oberhoffer-Fritz
Dean Department of Sport and Health Sciences
Chair of Preventive Pediatrics
Georg-Brauchle-Ring 60/62
80992 Munich

phone: 089 289 24570
e-mail: renate.oberhoffer(at)tum.de

PD Dr. Irene Teichert-von Lüttichau
Children's Hospital Munich Schwabing
Clinic and Polyclinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
Schwabing Hospital, Munich Clinic gGmbH and Hospital Rechts der Isar (AöR) of TUM
Kölner Platz 1
80804 Munich

phone: 089 3068 3076 (secretary's office)
e-mail: Irene.Teichert-vonLuettichau(at)mri.tum.de

Dr. Sabine Kesting
Chair of Preventive Pediatrics
Georg-Brauchle-Ring 60/62
80992 Munich
and Children's Hospital Munich Schwabing
Clinic and Polyclinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
Schwabing Hospital, Munich Clinic gGmbH and Hospital Rechts der Isar (AöR) of TUM

phone: 089 289 24579
e-mail: sabine.kesting(at)tum.de

Peter Weeber
Associate Professorship of Exercise Biology
Georg-Brauchle-Ring 60/62
80992 Munich

phone: 089 289 24400
e-mail: peter.weeber(at)tum.de
 

Text: Gianna Banke
Photos: German Heart Foundation/private