Tai Chi Improves Health-related Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors

December 28, 2011 – Breast cancer survivors experience diminished health-related quality of life (HRQOL). A new study by University of Rochester reports on the influence of tai chi chuan exercise (TCC) on HRQOL and explores associations between changes in HRQOL and biomarkers.

METHODS: Twenty-one breast cancer survivors were randomly assigned to TCC or standard support therapy (SST) for 12 weeks (three times/week; 60 min/session). Interleukin-6, interleukin-8 (IL-8), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), insulin-like growth factor-binding protein (IBFBP)-1, IGFBP-3, glucose, insulin, and cortisol were measured pre- and post-intervention. Overall HRQOL and sub-domains were assessed atpre-intervention (T1), mid-intervention (T2) and post-intervention (T3) and biomarkers at T1 and T3.

RESULTS: The TCC group improved in total HRQOL, physical functioning, physical role limitations, social functioning, and general mental health. The SST improved in social functioning and vitality. There were relationships between changes in IGF-1 and overall HRQOL, physical role limitation, and social functioning. IGFBP-1 changes were associated with physical role limitations changes. IGFBP-3 changes were associated with physical functioning changes. Cortisol changes were associated with changes in physical role limitations and health perceptions. Glucose changes were associated with emotional role limitation changes. IL-8 changes were associated with emotional role limitation changes.

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS: TCC may improve HRQOL by regulating inflammatory responses and other biomarkers associated with side effects from cancer and its treatments. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: TCC may be an intervention capable of improving HRQOL in breast cancer survivors.

This study is published in the December 2011 issue of Journal of cancer survivorship: research and practice.

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