Biobehavioral Effects of Tai Chi Qigong in Men with Prostate Cancer
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November 24, 2019 - Fatigue is often one of the most commonly reported symptoms in prostate cancer survivors, but it is also one of the least understood cancer-related symptoms. Fatigue is associated with psychological distress, disruptions in sleep quality, and impairments in health-related quality of life. Moreover, inflammatory processes and changes related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and/or autonomic nervous system may also play a role in cancer-related fatigue. Thus, effective treatments for fatigue in prostate cancer survivors represent a current unmet need.
Prior research has shown that Tai Chi Qigong can improve physical and emotional health. Herein, researchers from Rutgers University, University of New Mexico, University of Utah and UCLA describe the protocol of the ongoing 3-arm randomized controlled Health Empowerment & Recovery Outcomes (HERO) clinical trial. One hundred sixty-six prostate cancer survivors with fatigue are randomized to a modified Tai Chi Qigong intervention, intensity-matched body training intervention (BT), or usual care (UC) condition.
Guided by biopsychosocial and psychoneuroimmunology models, we propose that Tai Chi Qigong, as compared to BT or UC will: i) reduce fatigue (primary outcome) in prostate cancer survivors; ii) reduce inflammation; and iii) regulate the expression of genes from two major functional clusters: a) inflammation, vasodilation and metabolite sensing and b) energy and adrenergic activation. Assessments are conducted at baseline, the 6-week midpoint of the intervention, and 1 week, 3 months, and 12 months post-intervention.
If their findings show that Tai Chi Qigong promotes recovery from prostate cancer and its treatment, this type of intervention can be integrated into survivorship care plans as the standard of care. The study's findings will also provide novel information about underlying biobehavioral mechanisms of cancer-related fatigue.