Effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients With Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Undergoing Chemoradiotherapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
J Pain Symptom Manage. 2018 Mar ;55(3):737-744. Epub 2017 Nov 6. PMID: 29122618
CONTEXT: Tai Chi exercise has been shown to improve cancer-related fatigue (CRF) and autonomic nervous system (ANS) balance in some cancer patients or survivors; however, such effects are yet to be verified in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients undergoing chemoradiotherapy.
OBJECTIVES: To explore the effects of Tai Chi exercise on CRF in NPC patients undergoing chemoradiotherapy and then to evaluate ANS information indicated by heart rate variability parameters and their association with CRF.
METHODS: A randomized controlled trial of Tai Chi exercise was conducted from January 2014 to August 2015. Participants in the Tai Chi group practiced Tai Chi a one-hour session, five sessions/week during chemoradiotherapy. Participants in the control group received usual care. The primary end points were scores of the multidimensional fatigue symptom inventory-short form (MFSI-SF). Secondary end points were heart rate variability parameters, including normalized low-frequency (nLF) power, normalized high-frequency (nHF) power, and the nLF/nHF ratio, and their association with CRF.
RESULTS: One hundred fourteen patients were recruited in this study, and 83 patients completed the trial. The Tai Chi group and the control group had comparable baseline characteristics. After chemoradiotherapy, the Tai Chi group exhibited lower MFSI-SF total score and three negative subscale (general, physical, and emotional fatigue) scores and higher vigor score compared with the control group (P < 0.01 for all). The nLF/nHF ratio was significantly lower in the Tai Chi group compared to the control group after chemoradiotherapy. The MFSI-SF total score was markedly correlated with the nLF/nHF ratio.
CONCLUSION: Tai Chi exercise is conducive to alleviate CRF in NPC patients undergoing chemoradiotherapy. The improvement in ANS balance might fit into the process of Tai Chi for CRF management in this population.