- Shown, in two randomized controlled trials (BEST study, BEATE study) with over 260 breast cancer patients, that resistance training performed in parallel to the adjuvant chemo- or radiotherapy significantly reduced cancer-related fatigue.
- Been awarded with the Claudia-von-Schilling Award 2015 for Breast Cancer Research and the Quality of Life Prize 2015 of the Lilly Foundation for these clinically highly relevant results. Fatigue represents a major burden for many patients even years after the diagnosis and there is a lack of remedies.
- Based on the biomaterial collected in our randomized exercise interventions trials a translational research program has been set-up on possible biological mechanisms of exercise with a focus on fatigue and inflammatory and immunologic biomarkers.
- A new project (MOMENTUM, funded by the German Cancer Aid) has been started to investigate major barriers for cancer patients for not being more active based on methods from the field of health psychology. This project should help to better promote exercise for cancer patients.
Effects of physical activity on cancer risk and prognosis
The Division of Physical Activity, Prevention and Cancer (Head: Prof. Dr. Karen Steindorf) investigates the protective effects of physical activity (PA) and related concepts such as fitness and muscle strength on cancer risk (primary prevention), biomarkers, and molecular mechanisms, as well as effects on oncologic treatment and cancer prognosis (tertiary prevention). The goal of the interdisciplinary team is to increase scientific and public knowledge about the relevance of PA/exercise in reducing cancer burden. Furthermore, high-quality studies for cancer patients contribute to establish a safe, evidence-based and (individually) optimized training program for cancer patients. The expectation is that PA/exercise improves quality of life in cancer patients, reduces risk of recurrence and cancer mortality and reduces therapy- and cancer-related side effects. Based on this established knowledge, specifically patients in our studies but also other patients treated at the National Center for Tumor Diseases can be offered a wide range of supervised and individually-tailored training sessions. For most parts of the research program, there is an intense and well-established cooperation with the NCT working group “Exercise Oncology“ lead by Dr. Joachim Wiskemann within the NCT Division of Medical Oncology (Head: Prof. Dr. Dirk Jäger).
Research fields, © DKFZ
Isometric measurement, © DKFZ
Strength training, © Medienzentrum der Universität Heidelberg
Laboratory, © DKFZ
Division of Physical Activity, Prevention and Cancer, © DKFZ
Our department has:
2014 – 2016
- Steindorf K, Schmidt ME, Klassen O, Ulrich CM, Oelmann J, Habermann N, Beckhove P, Owen R, Debus J, Wiskemann J, Potthoff K (2014): Randomized Controlled Trial of Resistance Training in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Adjuvant Radiotherapy: Results on Cancer-related Fatigue and Quality of Life. Annals of Oncology, 25, 2237-43.
- Scharhag-Rosenberger F, Klassen O, Schmidt ME, Kühl R, Schommer K, Ulrich CM, Wiskemann J, Steindorf K (2015): Exercise intensity classification in breast cancer patients: A cross-sectional study with practical implications for training prescription. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 9, 612-619.
- Schmidt ME, Chang-Claude J, Vrieling A, Heinz J, Flesch-Janys D, Steindorf K (2015): Determinants of long-term fatigue in breast cancer survivors: Results of a prospective patient cohort study. Psychooncology, 24, 40-6.
- Wiskemann J, Schmidt M, Klassen O, Debus J, Ulrich CM, Potthoff K, Steindorf K (2016): Effects of 12-week resistance training during radiotherapy in breast cancer patients. Scand J Med Sci Sports, in print.
- Schmidt ME, Semik J, Habermann N, Wiskemann J, Ulrich CM, Steindorf K (2016): Cancer-related fatigue shows a stable association with diurnal cortisol dysregulation in breast cancer patients. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 52, 98-105.
- Claudia-von-Schilling Award 2015 for Breast Cancer Research
- Quality of Life Prize 2015 of the Lilly Foundation