Physical Activity Intervention for Hematopoietic Cell Transplant Recipients and Caregivers

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Mayo Clinic
Updated on 16 May 2022


Levels of physical activity (PA) among cancer survivors are low, yet PA may ameliorate effects of treatment (Phillips et al., 2014). We focus here on PA following the most intensive form of cancer treatment, hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), with multiple sequelae including graft-versus-host disease and cardiovascular and pulmonary complications. PA is diminished post-transplant (Hacker & Mjukian, 2014; Morishita et al., 2017). This decrease is associated with poorer physical functioning (Bennett et al., 2016), in turn associated with greater mortality (Wood et al., 2016). Moderate exercise has been deemed safe for HCT patients (Wiskemann et al., 2014), and PA interventions feasible (Hacker & Mjukian, 2014). Findings regarding efficacy are mixed, largely due to heterogeneity of intervention components and outcomes (Liu et al., 2009; Persoon et al., 2013). All PA interventions in the HCT setting have focused entirely on patients, ignoring an opportunity to synergistically engage and benefit the caregiver, a 24/7 role requiring provision of medical, logistical, and emotional support. Distress is common among HCT caregivers and their own health promotion is neglected (Applebaum et al., 2016). In addition, the patient-caregiver relationship can be compromised, and communication patterns disrupted (Langer et al., 2009). Guided by interdependence (Kelley et al., 1983) and communal coping (Lyons et al., 1998) perspectives, our 8-session PA intervention provides training in communication skills and behavior change techniques to help patient-caregiver dyads support one another in PA. Previous testing with a sample of breast cancer and prostate cancer survivors and caregivers demonstrated feasibility, but relied solely on self-reported PA and self-determined PA goals (Porter et al., 2018). We have adapted this protocol for HCT and will use a wearable device, a Fitbit tracker, to objectively monitor PA and to provide participants with weekly individualized step goals.

Specific aims are to: (1) determine feasibility of adherence to a dyad-based PA intervention (# of sessions attended and Fitbit wear adherence) for HCT recipients and caregivers (15 dyads) using a single-group pre-post design; (2) determine acceptability of the intervention (dimensions of treatment satisfaction); and (3) describe patterns of change in PA and communal coping from baseline to follow-up. Findings will inform the design of a randomized controlled trial to test efficacy of the intervention to improve physical endurance and relational well-being.

Condition Hematopoietic Cell Transplant
Treatment Integrated health counseling and step prescription
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05208554
SponsorMayo Clinic
Last Modified on16 May 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Scheduled to receive an autologous or allogeneic HCT
Being married or in a committed cohabiting relationship
English speaking and comprehending
Physician approval to participate in a walking program
Inclusion Criteria - Caregivers
Married to or in a cohabiting relationship with the patient
Able to participate in a walking program

Exclusion Criteria

Not scheduled to receive an HCT or already post-HCT
Unmarried or not in a committed cohabiting relationship
Non-English speaking and comprehending
Not medically approved to participate in walking program
Enrolled in competing behavioral intervention
Exclusion Criteria - Caregivers
Not married to or partnered/ cohabiting with the patient
Unable to participate in a walking program
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