Exercise training improves heart rate recovery in women with breast cancer

Francesco Giallauria, Luigi Maresca, Alessandra Vitelli, Maria Santucci de Magistris, Paolo Chiodini, Amalia Mattiello, Marco Gentile, Maria Mancini, Alessandra Grieco, Angelo Russo, Rosa Lucci, Giorgio Torella, Franco Berrino, Salvatore Panico, Carlo Vigorito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To determine whether exercise training improves autonomic function in women with breast cancer (BC). Methods: Fifty-one patients (aged between 39 and 72 years) with a history of primary invasive BC within the previous 5 years and enrolled in the Mediterranean diet-based DIANA (Diet and Androgens)-5 Trial were subdivided in two groups: a ET group (n = 25) followed a formal ET program of moderate intensity (3 session/week on a bicycle at 60–70% VO2peak for 3 months, followed by one session/week until 1-year follow-up), while a control group (n = 26) did not perform any formal ET. At baseline and after 1-year, all patients underwent cardiopulmonary exercise stress test (CPET). Heart rate recovery (HRR) was calculated as the difference between heart rate at peak exercise and heart rate at first minute of the cool-down period. Results: There were no significant differences between groups in baseline anthropometrical, BC characteristics, metabolic profile, CPET parameters and HRR. Compared to controls, at 1-year follow-up ET group showed a significant improvement in VO2peak (from 12.6 ± 3.0 to 14.5 ± 3.3 ml/kg/min, p 2peak (r = 0.58, p = 0.002). Conclusions: Moderate intensity exercise training in BC survivors is associated with improvement of autonomic function. Whether the improvement of sympatho-vagal balance may favorably modulate some of the pathophysiological mechanisms implied in cancer evolution need further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number388
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 6 2015


  • Autonomic function
  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise testing
  • Exercise training
  • Heart rate recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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