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JMIR Cancer, 2021; 7(2): e25569, PMID: 34132645

Home-Based Telehealth Exercise Intervention in Early-On Survivors of Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Feasibility Study.

Year: 2021

Lambert G, Alos N, Bernier P, Laverdiere C, Kairy D, Drummond K, Dahan-Oliel N, Lemay M, Veilleux LN
Sainte-Justine University Health Center, Montreal, QC, Canada.


BACKGROUND: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common type of pediatric cancer. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia causes an altered bone mineral homeostasis state, which can contribute to osteopenia, and bone fractures, most commonly vertebral fractures. With the increasing number of childhood cancer survivors, late adverse effects such as musculoskeletal comorbidities are often reported and are further influenced by inactive lifestyle habits. Physical activity has been shown to increase the mechanical workload of the bone, mitigating bone impairment in other cancer-specific populations. OBJECTIVE: This interventional pilot study aims to investigate the use of telehealth to deliver a home-based exercise intervention for early-on survivors of bone marrow-related hematological malignancies and to assess its impact on survivors" musculoskeletal and functional health. METHODS: We aimed to recruit a group of 12 early-on survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, within 6 months to 5 years of treatment, to participate in and complete the proposed telehealth intervention with a parent. The 16-week intervention included 40 potential home-based physical activity interventions supervised by a kinesiologist through a telehealth internet platform, with monthly progression. Patients were recruited to the cohort if they were able to participate in the intervention during the first month (minimum 12 weeks of intervention). Evaluation before and after the intervention protocol highlighted differences in functional capacities and musculoskeletal health of patients using mechanography, peripheral quantitative computed tomography, 6-minute walk test, and grip force test. RESULTS: The recruitment rate for the intervention was low (12/57, 21% of contacted patients). Of 12 patients, 3 were excluded (1=relapse, 1=failure to meet technical requirements, and 1=abandoned). The 9 patients who completed the intervention (6 girls; mean age 10.93, SD 2.83 years; mean BMI 21.58, SD 6.55 kg/m(2); mean time since treatment completion 36.67, SD 16.37 months) had a mean adherence of 89% and a completion rate of 75%. In addition, these patients showed functional improvements in lower limb muscle force and power as well as in the 6-minute walk test distance. Participants also showed improved bone health after the intervention on the following parameters: bone mineral content, stress-strain index, total and cortical cross-sectional area at the 14% site (P=.03, P=.01, P=.01, and P=.001, respectively) and 38% site of the tibia (P=.003, P=.04, P=.001, and P=.003, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: High adherence and participation rates suggest that telehealth is a feasible method to deliver exercise interventions to young early-on survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The proposed intervention seems promising in providing benefits to patients" functional performance and bone health, but a large-scale study is needed to confirm this assumption.

GID: 5690; Last update: 25.04.2022