Herranz-Gómez, A, Cuenca-Martínez, F, Suso-Martí, L, et al. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2022; 32: 1522- 1549.
To assess the available evidence on the effectiveness of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in addition to first-choice cancer treatment on cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), quality of life (QoL), adherence, and adverse effects of HIIT in patients with cancer or cancer survivors.
An umbrella review and meta-meta-analysis (MMA) was performed. A systematic search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Database, CINAHL, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science until August 2021. Article selection, quality assessment, and risk of bias assessment were performed by two independent reviewers. The MMA were performed with a random-effects model and the summary statistics were presented in the form of forest plot with a weighted compilation of all standardized mean differences (SMD) and corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).
Seven systematic reviews were included. Regarding CRF, the addition of HIIT to cancer treatment showed statistically significant differences with a small clinical effect, compared with adding other treatments (SMD = 0.45; 95% CI 0.24 to 0.65). There was no significant difference when compared with adding moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) (SMD = 0.23; 95% CI −0.04 to 0.50). QoL showed positive results although with some controversy. Adherence to HIIT intervention was high, ranging from 54% to 100%. Regarding adverse effects, most of the systematic reviews reported none, and in the cases in which they occurred, they were mild.
In conjunction with first-choice cancer treatment, HIIT has been shown to be an effective intervention in terms of CRF and QoL, as well as having optimal adherence rate. In addition, the implementation of HIIT in patients with cancer or cancer survivors is safe as it showed no or few adverse effects.