People with gynaecological cancer commonly suffer from physical and psychological symptoms related to their cancer and cancer treatment.
To evaluate and synthesise the evidence examining the effect of interventions with an exercise component for females with gynaecological cancer.
Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE, PubMed, PEDro, PsycINFO and Cochrane Library were searched systematically in September 2014.
Randomised controlled trials were included if they investigated the effects of interventions with an exercise component in patients with gynaecological cancer.
Two reviewers independently assessed the risk of bias of studies using the PEDro scale.
Seven randomised controlled trials on five patient groups involving 221 participants were included. The mean PEDro score was 5.3 (standard deviation 1.5) out of 10. Compared with control groups, the intervention groups showed significantly greater improvements in physical activity levels and body mass index. No significant effects were found for fatigue, depression and health-related quality of life. A meta-analysis of functional exercise capacity and muscle strength was not possible due to insufficient data in the included trials.
The majority of studies provided exercise as part of multicomponent intervention programmes.
Interventions with an exercise component appear to be effective at improving physical activity levels and body mass index among patients with gynaecological cancer. Further research is required to examine the effects of exercise interventions alone in this population.
Systematic review registration number
Exercise interventions for patients with gynaecological cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis.