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Systematic review of pre-operative exercise in colorectal cancer patients

Boereboom, C.; Doleman, Brett; Lund, Jonathan N.; Williams, John P.


C. Boereboom

Brett Doleman

Jonathan N. Lund

John P. Williams


© 2015, Springer-Verlag Italia Srl. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence for exercise interventions prior to surgery for colorectal cancer resection. The evidence for use of exercise to improve physical fitness and surgical outcomes is as yet unknown. A systematic search was performed of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED and BNI databases for studies involving pre-operative exercise in colorectal cancer patients. Eight studies were included in the review. There is evidence that pre-operative exercise improves functional fitness, and to a lesser extent objectively measurable cardio-respiratory fitness prior to colorectal cancer resection. There is no clear evidence at present that this improvement in fitness translates into reduced peri-operative risk or improved post-operative outcomes. Current studies are limited by risk of bias. This review highlights the common difficulty in transferring promising results in a research setting, into significant improvements in the clinical arena. Future research should focus on which type of exercise is most likely to maximise patient adherence and improvements in cardio-respiratory fitness. Ultimately, adequately powered, randomised controlled trials are needed to investigate whether pre-operative exercise improves post-operative morbidity and mortality.


Boereboom, C., Doleman, B., Lund, J. N., & Williams, J. P. (2016). Systematic review of pre-operative exercise in colorectal cancer patients. Techniques in Coloproctology, 20(2), 81-89.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Nov 14, 2015
Online Publication Date Nov 27, 2015
Publication Date Feb 1, 2016
Deposit Date Feb 1, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2017
Journal Techniques in Coloproctology
Print ISSN 1123-6337
Electronic ISSN 1128-045X
Publisher Springer Nature
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 2
Pages 81-89
Keywords exercise, colorectal cancer, systematic review, mortality
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via


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