Compliance and safety of a novel home exercise program for patients with high-grade brain tumors, a prospective observational study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation; Department of Radiation Oncology; Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology; School of Medicine; Senior Scholars Program

Faculty Mentor

Jennifer Baima

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Services Administration | Medical Education | Neoplasms | Oncology | Rehabilitation and Therapy


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to evaluate compliance with and safety of a novel independent home exercise program for patients with high-grade brain tumors. We designed this program around the preferences and individual capabilities of this population as well as the potential barriers to exercise in cancer patients. Demographics were collected to better understand those that persisted with exercise.

METHODS: Subjects with high-grade brain tumor received one-time training that included watching an exercise video and live demonstration of resistance band exercises, a balance exercise, and recommendations for walking. Subjects were instructed to do the exercises every day for 1 month. Main outcome measures were percentage of subjects who exercised throughout the month, frequency of exercising, demographic factors, quality of life scores (assessed by FACT-BR), and self report of adverse events.

RESULTS: Fourteen of the 15 (93%) subjects started the exercises during the course of the month. Nine of the fifteen (60%) continued the exercises throughout the month. Three additional subjects would have continued to exercise if formal or supervised rehabilitation had been offered. Among the subjects who continued the exercises regularly, higher frequency of exercising was significantly associated with living as married (p = 0.033), annual income > $50,000 (p = 0.047), scores of physical well-being (p = 0.047), and brain cancer specific well-being (p = 0.054) subscales. Among those who exercised frequently, there was also a trend towards increase in total FACT-BR scores (p = 0.059). The subjects who scored higher on the social well-being subscale of the FACT-BR at baseline self-reported a higher likelihood to continue the exercises after 1 month of participation in the study (p = 0.018). No adverse events were reported.

CONCLUSIONS: Our small group of subjects with high-grade brain tumors demonstrated compliance with and safety of a novel independent strength and balance exercise program in the home setting. Higher frequency of exercising was associated with life quality parameters as well as marriage and income.


Brain neoplasms, Exercise, Muscle weakness, Rehabilitation

DOI of Published Version



Support Care Cancer. 2017 Sep;25(9):2809-2814. doi: 10.1007/s00520-017-3695-7. Epub 2017 Apr 6. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer


Zehra Omer participated in this study as a medical student as part of the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID