Med Sci Sports Exerc 2019 12;51(12):2429-2433
Department of Neurosurgery, Münster University Hospital, Münster, GERMANY.
Introduction: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) carries a strongly unfavorable prognosis despite intensive multidisciplinary therapy. Physical exercise is rarely offered to patients for fear of adverse events such as falls, epileptic seizures, or bleeding, despite little supporting evidence. Here, we report a study of high-level and long-term exercise in a GBM patient.
Methods: A 33-yr-old male, diagnosed with a large cystic GBM, was included in our institution's Personal Training Program after initial tumor resection and adjuvant radiochemotherapy. The program was designed to facilitate individual long-term high-intensity exercise. Supervised by a certified personal trainer, it consisted of at least four weekly training sessions and intermittent performance diagnostics. An activity tracker quantified training intensity.
Results: In this setting, the patient exercised at high intensity without adverse events for 87 continuous weeks (21 months). He averaged 43.7 metabolic equivalent of task hours per week (MET·h·wk), well above the 75th percentile of healthy males the same age, while undergoing multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy regimens. The patient completed two marathons averaging less than 5 min·km both times, despite tumor progression. Performance diagnostics indicated a gain of fitness even during continuous GBM treatment. Due to multiple intraventricular lesions and increasing intracranial pressure, training was stopped 6 wk before the patient passed away 2 yr after initial diagnosis.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that high-intensity, long-term physical training regimens are feasible in GBM patients during full multidisciplinary therapy. In this patient, the exercise was pursued without adverse events and led to a gain of fitness despite tumor progression and intensive multiple therapies. We conclude that, in GBM patients, exercise regimens require further study instead of general discouragement.