Biological markers as an outcome measure of exercise in cancer rehabilitation: A systematic review

Lauri McDermott, Marie Murphy, AM McNeilly, Jane Rankin, Jackie Gracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


The number of people living with and beyond cancer is at an all time high. These survivors are not necessarily living well, as adverseside effects from cancer and its treatment can last up to 5 years and leave patients at a higher risk of developing secondary cancersand other chronic illnesses. Exercise has been proven to be a safe and effective method of intervention to decrease mortality andoverall improve health outcomes. The biological mechanism through which this occurs is an area of research that is in its infancy andnot well defined. A systematic search was conducted of four databases for relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) publishedbetween January 2004 and December 2014. Studies had to include any blood/urine biological markers as an outcome measure toa physical activity intervention for cancer survivors posttreatment. Fifteen relevant articles were identified (12 RCTs). It was shownthat randomized controlled trials of exercise for cancer survivors posttreatment may results in changes to circulating levels of insulin,insulin related pathways (insulin like growth factor II [IGF II], IGF binding protein 3), high density lipoprotein, total cholesterol, leptin,and osteocalcin. Due to small sample sizes, the evidence is still preliminary and therefore more research is warranted in this areain the form of larger, statistically powered RCTs for cancer survivors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-77
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics
Issue number2
Early online date30 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished online - 30 Oct 2016


  • Biomarkers
  • cancer rehabilitation
  • cancer survivorship
  • exercise
  • physical activity


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