Prehabilitation for patient positioning: pelvic exercises assist in minimizing inter-fraction sacral slope variability during radiation therapy

UMMS Affiliation

School of Medicine; Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Science; Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation; Department of Radiation Oncology

Publication Date


Document Type



Oncology | Orthopedics | Radiation Medicine | Rehabilitation and Therapy


Reproducible patient positioning is essential for precision in radiation therapy (RT) delivery. We tested the hypothesis that a structured daily pre-treatment stretching regimen is both feasible and effective for minimizing variability in positioning, as measured by sacral slope angles (SSA). Eight female subjects undergoing pelvic radiotherapy performed a structured daily hip exercise regimen (extension and external rotation) immediately prior to both simulation imaging and daily treatment, throughout their RT course. This exercising cohort was compared to a retrospective review of 20 subjects (17 women and 3 men) undergoing RT, who had usual care. SSA measurements from daily pre-treatment imaging were compared to SSA measurements from the simulation CT. The average variation in SSA among the intervention subjects was 0.91 degrees (+/- 0.58 degrees ), with a range among subjects of 0.57 degrees -1.27 degrees . The average variation for the control subjects was 2.27 degrees (+/- 1.43 degrees ), ranging 1.22 degrees -5.09 degrees . The difference between the two groups was statistically significant (p = 0.0001). There was a statistically significant SSA variation between groups at each week of treatment. There was no significant variation among the intervention subjects between week 1 and later weeks, whereas subjects in the control group demonstrated significant SSA variation between week 1 and later weeks. We demonstrated a significant decrease in the variability of SSA by implementing a simple pre-treatment exercise program, while control subjects exhibited increasing variation in SSA over the course of treatment. We conclude that there is a potential benefit of prehabilitation during pelvic RT; however, a larger randomized control trial is required to confirm the findings.Clinical Trial: This research project was approved by the University of Massachusetts Medical School IRB (IRB ID H00012353) on January 21, 2017. The study is listed on ClinicalTrials.gov, provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, found with identifier NCT03242538.


Exercise therapy, Inter-fraction reproducibility, Patient Setup, Pelvic cancer radiotherapy, Prehabilitation

DOI of Published Version



Med Oncol. 2019 Nov 12;37(1):3. doi: 10.1007/s12032-019-1322-9. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Medical oncology (Northwood, London, England)

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID