Qigong/tai chi for sleep and fatigue in prostate cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy: A randomized controlled trial.
Psychooncology. 2016 Aug 22. Epub 2016 Aug 22. PMID: 27548839
OBJECTIVES: Sleep disturbances and fatigue are common in prostate cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. Prior research suggests mind-body techniques may improve these outcomes. We conducted a randomized-controlled trial of qigong/tai chi (QGTC) in men with prostate cancer undergoing radiotherapy.
METHODS: Men with prostate cancer starting definitive radiation were randomized to one of three groups: (1) QGTC; (2) light exercise (LE); or (3) wait list control (WLC). Sleep disturbances (PSQI) and fatigue (BFI) were assessed at baseline, mid-radiotherapy (T2), during the last week of radiotherapy (T3) and at 1 (T4) and 3 months (T5) after the end of radiotherapy. Patients in the QGTC and LE groups attended three 40-minute classes per week throughout radiotherapy.
RESULTS: Ninety patients were randomized to the three groups (QGTC = 26; LE = 26; WLC = 24). QGTC group reported longer sleep duration at mid-XRT (QGTC = 7.01 hours; LE = 6.42; WL = 6.50; p = 0.05) but this difference did not persist over time. There were no group differences in other domains of sleep or fatigue. Exploratory analyses conducted to examine the effect of health-related QOL (EPIC and AUA score) on sleep and fatigue showed significant correlations across multiple domains.
CONCLUSIONS: QGTC during radiation for prostate cancer resulted in superior sleep duration midway through radiation, but this effect was not durable and there were no differences in other domains of sleep or fatigue. Exploratory analysis demonstrated that both sleep and fatigue were highly correlated with prostate cancer related physical symptoms. Future mind-body intervention studies should incorporate multi-modal therapy focused on improving physical symptoms in this population.