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Table 2 Characteristics of the studies included

From: Effects of supervised exercise on cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Study Design Breast cancer description Participants* Intervention** Outcome measures
Campbell et al. 2005 [38] RCT Early stage (I-II) Breast cancer Characteristics of cancer treatment = Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and combination. Exp = Aerobic exercise and resistance training FACT-G, FACT-B, SWLS, PFS, SPAQ, 12-minute walk test
N = 22 Length = 12 weeks.
Female = 22 Duration = 20 min/session
Exp (n = 12) Frequency = 2 session/week
Age (yr) = 48 (10) Intensity = 60%-75%
Age (yr) = 47 (5) Con = Conventional care
Cantarero et al. 2013 [39] RCT Breast cancer (stages I-IIIA) Characteristics of cancer treatment = Chemotherapy radiotherapy and combination. Exp = Aerobic exercise and resistance training PFS, The Spanish version of the Profile of
     Length = 8 weeks
N = 61 Duration = 60 min/session Mood States, The “multiple sit-to-stand test”, The trunk curl static endurance test
Female = 61 Frequency = 3 session/week
Exp (n = 32) Intensity = 60%-75%
Age (yr) = 49 (7) Con = Conventional care
Con (n = 29)
Age (yr) = 47 (8)
Courneya et al. 2003 [40] RCT Early stage Breast cancer Characteristics of cancer treatment = Chemotherapy – Radiotherapy Exp = Aerobic exercise FACT- G, FACT-B, FACT-F
N = 52 Length = 15 weeks
Female = 52 Duration = 35 min/session
Exp (n = 24) Frequency = 3 session/week
Age (yr) = 59 (5) Intensity = 70%-75%
Con (n = 28) Con = Conventional care
Age (yr) = 58 (6)  
Ergun et al. 2013 [41] RCT Breast cancer (stages I-IIIA) Characteristics of cancer treatment = Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, mastectomy, axillary dissection and sentinel lymph node biopsy Exp = Aerobic exercise and resistance training. EORTC QLQ-C30, BFI, BDI, ELISA kit, RayBio Human
N = 60 Length = 12 weeks
Female = 60 Duration = 45 min/session Cytokine Antibody Array 3
Exp (n = 20) Frequency = 3 session/week
Age (yr) = 49.65 (8.25) Intensity = 60%-80%
Home-based exercise (n = 20) Con = Home-based exercise (brisk walking for 30 min/day for 3 days/week) + education programme
Age (yr) = 55.05 (6.85) Education group = patient information booklet that also included lymphedema-specific exercises
Education group (n = 20)  
Age (yr) = 55.30 (10.37)  
Milne et al. 2008 [42] RCT Early stage Breast cancer Characteristics of cancer treatment = Chemotherapy – Radiotherapy Exp = Aerobic exercise, resistance training and stretching. FACT-B, SCFS, rPARQ, Aerobic Power Index
N = 58 Length = 12 weeks.
Female = 58 Duration = 30 min/ses.
Exp (n = 29) Frequency = 3 ses/wk.
Age (yr) = 55.2 (8.4) Intensity = about 75%.
Con (n = 29) Con = Delayed exercise group
Age (yr) = 55.1 (8.0) (DEG) completed the exercise program from 13 to 24 weeks.
Mutrie et al. 2007 [43] RCT Early stage Breast cancer Characteristics of cancer treatment = Chemotherapy – Radiotherapy and combination Exp = Aerobic exercise and resistance training. FACT-G, FACT-B, FACT-F, BDI, PANAS, SPAQ Leisure time, BMI, 12 minute walk test
N = 174 Length = 12 weeks.
Female = 174 Duration = 45 min/ses.
Exp (n = 82) Frequency = 2 ses/wk.
Age (yr) = 51.3 (10.3) Intensity = 50%-75%.
Con (n = 92) Con = Conventional care.
Age (yr) = 51.8 (8.7)  
Saarto et al. 2012 [44] RCT Early stage Breast cancer Characteristics of cancer treatment = Chemotherapy – Radiotherapy Exp = Aerobic exercise EORTC QLQ-C30, FACIT-F, RBDI, WHQ
N = 500 Length = 48 weeks.
Female = 500 Duration = 60 min/ses.
Exp (n = 263) Frequency = 1 ses/wk.
Age (yr) = 52.3 (36–68) Intensity = 86%-92%.
Con (n = 237) Con = Encourage to maintain their previous level of physical activity and exercise habits.
Age (yr) = 52.4 (35–68)
Segal et al. 2001 [45] RCT Early stage Breast cancer Characteristics of cancer treatment = Chemotherapy Exp = Aerobic exercise FACT-G, FACT-B, MOS SF-36
N = 123 Length = 26 weeks.
Female = 123 Duration = No reported.
Exp (n = 42) Frequency = 3 ses/wk.
Age (yr) = 51.4 (8.7) Intensity = 50%-60%.
Con (n = 41) Con = Conventional care.
Age (yr) = 50.3 (8.7) Self-Directed Exercise Group = 5 times per week progressive walking at 50% to 60% maximal predicted oxygen uptake.
Self-Directed Exercise
Group (n = 40)
Age (yr) = 51.0 (8.7)
Winters et al. 2012 [46] RCT Breast cancer (stagesI-IIIA) Characteristics of cancer treatment = Chemotherapy – Radiotherapy Exp = Resistance training SCFS, 1-RM, PPB, Hand grip dynamometry
N = 106 Length = 1 year.
Female = 106 Duration = 60 min/ses.
Exp (n = 52) Frequency = 2 ses/wk.
Age (yr) = 62.3 (6.7) Intensity = 60%-80%.
Con (n = 54) Con = Stretching placebo program.
Age (yr) = 62.6 (6.7)
  1. Beck Depression Inventory, BDI; The Brief Fatigue Inventory, BFI; DXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry); European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, EORTC QLQ-C30; Finnish modified version of Beck’s 13-item depression scale, RBDI; Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy, FACT – Breast (FACT-B), Fatigue (FACT-F), General (FACT-G); Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT) questionnaire for fatigue (FACIT-F); Medical Outcomes Study Short Form, MOS SF-36; Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, MFSI-SF; Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, PARQ; Physical Performance Battery, PPB; Piper Fatigue Scale, PFS; Positive And Negative Affect Scale, PANAS; Scottish Physical Activity Questionnaire, SPAQ; Schwartz Cancer Fatigue Scale, SCFS; Satisfaction with Life Scale, SWLS; Women’s Health Questionnaire, WHQ.
  2. *Age presented with mean and SD or range where reported.
  3. **Supervised physical activity interventions usually consisted of a warm-up period, aerobic training (walking, cycling-ergometers and circuits), muscle strength training (chest and leg curls), stretching exercises and a cool-down and relaxation period.