Feasibility of Aerobic Exercise and Tai-Chi Interventions in Advanced Lung Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Denise Shuk Ting Cheung, Naomi Takemura, Tai Chung Lam, James Chung Man Ho, Wen Deng, Robert Smith, Yinxia Yan, Anne Wing Mui Lee, Chia Chin Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A majority of lung cancer patients are diagnosed at advanced stages. Although there is considerable evidence of the benefits of aerobic exercise and tai-chi for lung cancer patients, little is known about the comparative effectiveness of the 2 exercise modes in advanced lung cancer patients. Objectives: To explore the feasibility and preliminary effects of aerobic exercise and tai-chi interventions on survival and well-being among advanced lung cancer patients. Methods: In an assessor-blinded, exploratory randomized controlled trial, 30 advanced lung cancer patients were randomized to an aerobic exercise group, a tai-chi group (both attending 12-week, twice-weekly supervised sessions), or a self-management control group (receiving written exercise guidelines). The primary outcomes focused on feasibility including intervention completion, exercise adherence, and adverse events, while the secondary outcomes addressed preliminary effects and included 1-year survival, cancer symptoms (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score, Brief Fatigue Inventory), quality of life (EORTC QLQ-C30, QLQ-LC13), physical performance (6-minute walk test, up-and-go, sit-to-stand, 1-leg standing), activity levels (actigraph), and circadian rhythms (salivary cortisol). Results: Intervention feasibility was established with a satisfactory completion rate at post-intervention for the aerobic exercise group (80%) and the tai-chi group (78%). The tai-chi group attained higher adherence than the exercise group in terms of attendance in supervised sessions (89% vs 75% of scheduled classes) and self-practice (225% vs 87% of the prescribed amount). Higher adherence to self-practice in the tai-chi group remained at the 6-month follow-up (81% vs 38% of the prescribed amount). No adverse event as a result of the intervention was reported. Effect-related outcomes did not show statistically significant changes in any group, except an improvement post-intervention in the up-and-go (−2.26, 95% CI: −4.04, −0.48) and sit-to-stand tests (4.52, 95% CI: 2.19, 6.85) in the aerobic exercise group. Conclusions: The findings support the feasibility of aerobic exercise and tai-chi interventions in advanced lung cancer patients. A future study with a larger sample from multiple sites is recommended to confirm the comparative effects of the 2 exercise interventions relative to the self-management group and to enhance the generalizability of the findings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIntegrative Cancer Therapies
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • advanced cancer
  • aerobic exercise
  • lung cancer
  • quality of life
  • survival
  • tai-chi
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Lung Neoplasms/therapy
  • Tai Ji
  • Feasibility Studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Feasibility of Aerobic Exercise and Tai-Chi Interventions in Advanced Lung Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this