The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of administering an in-hospital exercise program to acute leukemia patients undergoing chemotherapy. A secondary purpose explored the impact of exercise on selected physiological, psychological, and inflammatory markers. Ten patients, aged 18 to 50 years, diagnosed with acute leukemia or newly relapsed were assessed for body weight, height, body composition (skinfolds), cardiorespiratory endurance, dynamic muscular endurance, fatigue, depression and quality of life at baseline (within 3 days of diagnosis) and at the end of induction phase of treatment. Blood draws were taken at baseline, midpoint, and at the end of induction for analyses of inflammatory markers. Combined aerobic and strength training exercises were administered 3 times per week, twice daily, for 30 minutes. The results showed significant improvements in cardiorespiratory endurance with significant reductions in total fatigue scores and depression scores were observed. There was marginally significant decrease in interleukin-6 with no significant changes in IL-10 or interferon-gamma were observed.
Administration of exercise to acute leukemia patients undergoing treatment is feasible. The exercise protocol used increased cardiovascular endurance, reduced fatigue and depression scores, and maintained quality of life. Although no significant change in inflammation was observed, a trend demonstrating a reduction in IL-6 and an increase in IL-10 warrants further investigation.