Hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (SCT) is increasingly used to treat children with cancer, and survival following SCT is improving. One predominant consequence of childhood cancer therapy is increased physical morbidity, which is worse in pediatric SCT recipients compared with children treated with chemotherapy or radiation alone. There are many factors that contribute to exercise intolerance and reduced physical function during the pretransplant, peritransplant, and posttransplant phases. These include side effects from chemotherapy or radiation, excessive immobility due to bed rest, infections, the negative effects of immunosuppressants, and graft vs host disease, all of which can impair cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and muscle function. Few studies have investigated the effects of exercise in childhood SCT recipients. In a small number of published studies, exercise interventions have been demonstrated to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, preserve or increase muscle mass, and improve muscle strength in children following SCT. The use of exercise as medicine may be a noninvasive and nonpharmaceutical treatment to target physical complications post-SCT. Researchers and health-care professionals should work together to develop exercise prescription guidelines for this unique and important population.
Sarah L. West, Adam Gassas, Tal Schechter, R. Maarten Egeler, Paul C. Nathan and Greg D. Wells
Two papers were selected for this commentary. The first paper (Citation 1) suggests that a 10-week, moderate-intensity exercise program performed early after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is feasible in this fragile population, and might improve cell cytotoxicity by redistributing subpopulations of NK cells. This study adds to the growing evidence that enhancing immune cell surveillance (e.g., NK cells) in response to exercise could benefit cancer patients. The second paper (Citation 2) studied neutrophil-related mediators of oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines in response to exercise in children compared with adults. The authors found age/maturation-related differences in these responses. The paper provides a valuable introduction to the current knowledge of maturational changes in immune mediators’ response to exercise. Data about leukocyte function in response to exercise in healthy children and in children with clinical conditions is scant. The need for prospective large scale pediatric clinical exercise studies is clear. Molecular approaches to understand the mechanisms through which physical activity can improve health will help to shape guidelines that optimize the mode, frequency, intensity, and duration of the training intervention.
-0153 Exercise Intolerance and the Impact of Physical Activity in Children Treated With Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Sarah L. West * Adam Gassas * Tal Schechter * R. Maarten Egeler * Paul C. Nathan * Greg D. Wells * 8 2014 26 3 358 364 10.1123/pes.2013-0156 Commentary Determining the