Aerobic Exercise for Optimizing Cardiopulmonary Fitness in Childhood Cancer Survivors Treated with a Known Cardiotoxic Agent: A Meta-Analysis
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Cardiotoxicity (CT) is a side effect of cancer treatment that can damage the heart and increase cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Furthermore, CT and reduced physical activity (PA) contribute to a sustained reduction in cardiopulmonary fitness (CPF), an independent predictor of CV mortality. Recent studies have explored the potential of aerobic exercise as a cardioprotective strategy, and many have reported CPF as an outcome. The main purpose of this review was to synthesize evidence from the existing childhood cancer survivor (CCS) studies examining the effect of aerobic exercise on CPF. The specific objectives were to investigate how certain clinical characteristics (e.g., treatment status) and exercise parameters (e.g., program length) change the effect of exercise on CPF. Pooled evidence from the nine included studies suggests that aerobic exercise has a statistically and clinically significant positive effect on CPF. Findings on the moderating effect of clinical characteristics and exercise parameters were insignificant.